I am a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Kent’s School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research (SSPSSR). I joined SSPSSR in August 2016.
I completed a Master in both Criminology (2006) and Social & Cultural Anthropology (2007) at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Belgium and was awarded a PhD in Criminology by the Faculty of Law, KU Leuven in December 2015. I was a visiting scholar at the Sociology Department of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in May 2014.
From September 2015 – July 2016 I worked as a (Post-doctoral) researcher/ Research coordinator on a research project funded by BELSPO on the Cost of Cybercrime in the Belgian Industry.
Room CNE 104
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF
Please contact me by email
Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository
My research interests fall within the study of social deviance. Specifically, I am interested in the interdisciplinary and multi-method study of crime (including visual criminology). I also have a particular interest in the study of the seduction of crime within the processes of globalisation and a global mediascape. However, my most recent work is in the field of cybercrime.
Current Research Interest
I am currently engaged in disseminating the findings of my PhD research which consisted of a multi-method study including an 18 month ethnography with black African gangs in Brussels. Theoretically, my doctoral thesis, entitled ‘The Gang Game: the Myth and Seduction of Gangs’ looks at the seduction of gang life for young men and presents a novel multi-disciplinary theoretical perspective to study gangs. In this study gangs are viewed as myths produced in a ‘gang game’, a mythmaking process between different sets of ‘players’. The mythic nature of gangs create their seductiveness.
Research outputs to date include a number of publications (see publications section) and an ethnographic film presenting important findings of the fieldwork: ‘Biso: The Black Gangs of Brussels’. The film was broadcasted at Belgian national television on June 13, 2013 and had more than 200 000 viewers. Future outputs will include a book, articles on street culture and gang theory, violence, media mythmaking, multi-method research designs, gang policing and cybercrime.
I would be interested in receiving supervision enquires in the areas of gang studies, ethnography, street crime and culture, the seduction of crime, cybercrime.
In the 2016-17 academic year I convene the MA module SO881: Cultural Criminology (spring term) which provides a sophisticated understanding of this exciting perspective on criminality.
I co-convene the undergraduate course SO605: Crime, Media and Culture (spring term). This module explores the complex cultural meanings underpinning criminality, further considering how issues of crime and justice are represented and consumed through the mass media. The module examines the influence of media coverage on policy debates and probes the position of crime in a late-modern society of fluid boundaries where it simultaneously excludes and includes, revolts and entertains, ruins lives and sells products.
I will also be assisting teaching on SO505: Sociology of Deviance. Finally, I deliver lectures on a range of different modules across the school.
At the University of Leuven I have mainly taught in criminological theory, urban crime, anthropological perspectives in criminology and research methods.back to top
- Van Hellemont, E. 2016. ‘EenVandaag, a Conversation with the Producers of ‘Black’’ (Audio: Dutch), NPO 1: Eenvandaag, 15 January, The Netherlands (00:04:41)
- Van Hellemont, E. 2015. ‘Young Men in Street Gangs Are not as in the Movie ‘Black’’ (Audio: Dutch; Subtitles: English), TVBrussels: Brussel Nieuws, 9 December, Belgium (00:07:44)
- Kasadi, F. and E. Van Hellemont. 2013 ‘Biso, the Black Gangs of Brussels’ (Audio: French; Subtitles: Dutch) Canvas: Panorama, 13 June, Belgium (00:40:29)
- Van Hellemont, E. 2015. ‘’Black” not Released in several Brussels’ Theatres’, interview, (Dutch), Radio 1: Hautekiet, Belgium, 9 November, (00:21:07 – 00:25:00)
- Van Hellemont, E. 2014. ‘7 New Gangs in Brussels?’, interview, Radio 1: De Ochtend, 6 May
- Van Hellemont, E. 2013. ‘Interview with Elke Van Hellemont about ‘Biso: The Black Gangs of Brussels’’, Radio 1: De Ochtend, 13 June
- Van Hellemont, E. 2013. ‘Street Gangs’, interview (Dutch), Radio 1: Interne Keuken, Belgium, 8 June, (00:20:04)
- Thompson, L. 2016. ‘Q&A: The Facts behind Brussels’ Urban Gangs’ (English), FlandersToday.be, 16 January
- Van Hellemont, E. 2015. ‘Black Gangs in Brussels: Some Subtle Points’(Dutch), De Redactie.be, 12 November
- Bruzz. 2015. ‘Reality of Brussels’ Gangs Is far Distressing’ (Dutch), Brusselsnieuws.be, 11 November
- Heylen, K. 2015. ‘Urban Gangs in Brussels: Difficult to Get an Overview’ (Dutch), DeRedactie.be, 12 November
- De Redactie. 2013. ‘What is the Seduction of Gangs for Young Men?’ (Dutch), DeRedactie.be, 13 June, (00:03:22)
- Lens, H. 2015. ‘The Seduction of the Gang Game: Chaos Rules in Brussels’ Gangs’ Dutch), Campuskrant, 16 December 16, p.4.
- Vidal, K. 2015. ‘Criminologist Won Trust of Brussels Youth Gang: ‘Gangs Form Naturally’’ (Dutch), De Morgen, 11 December, p.16.
- Bergmans, E. 2015. ‘Gang Members also Talk about Politics’ (Dutch), De Standaard, 10 December, p. 14.
- Adriaensen, A. 2013. ‘Criminologist Elke Van Hellemont (KU Leuven): ‘They Are pretty normal Guys’’ (Dutch), De Standaard, 13 June, p. 10.
- De Nies, S. 2013. ‘There Are more Gang Casualties Now than Before’ (Dutch), Het Laatste Nieuws, 13 June, p. 18.
- Mayeur, J. 2013. ‘Criminologist for some Time Member of a Brussels Street Gang’ (Dutch), Het Nieuwsblad, 13 June, p. 34.
- Vandekerckhove, S. 2013. ‘Panorama-Documentary about Black Gangs in Brussels: Violence is quite Normal’ (Dutch), De Morgen, 13 June, p. 4.
The Seducation of Gangs: Pains and Pleasures of Ethnographic Research
(a Think Kent video 2017)
- Member of the Steering Committee of Eurogang Research Network (2014 - )