Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research

Making sense of the social world


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.

Contact Information


Room CNE 104
Cornwallis North East
University of Kent
Kent CT2 7NF

Please contact me by email

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Van Hellemont, E. and Densley, J. (2018). Gang glocalization: How the global mediascape creates and shapes local gang realities. Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal [Online] 15:169-189. Available at:
Van Hellemont, E. (2016). Visual Criminology in Action? Methodological Choices in Ethnographic Filmmaking: 'Biso, the Black Gangs of Brussels'. Panopticon 37:235-242.
Van Hellemont, E. (2012). Gangland Online: Performing the Real Imaginary World of Gangstas and Ghettos in Brussels. European Journal of Crime, Criminal Law and Criminal Justice:165-180.
Book section
Van Hellemont, E. and Vandenbogaerde, E. (2016). Fear and Retaliation: Gang Violence in Brussels and Caracsa. in: Gang Transitions and Transformations in an International Context. Springer.
Total publications in KAR: 4 [See all in KAR]
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Research Interests

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.

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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.

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  • 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)




The Seducation of Gangs: Pains and Pleasures of Ethnographic Research
(a Think Kent video 2017)

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  • Member of the Steering Committee of Eurogang Research Network (2014 - )
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Telephone: +44(0)1227 823072 Fax: +44(0)1227 827005 or email us

SSPSSR, Faculty of Social Sciences, Cornwallis North East, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NF

Last Updated: 04/01/2018