Introduction to Criminology - Lucas Melgaço, Els Enhus

1st semester, 6 ECTS

This course introduces key themes, concepts and theories in criminology. It analyzes the complexities of defining, explaining, measuring and reacting to crime. What are the origins of crime? What makes a criminal? Poverty? Inequality? Mental disease? Globalization? How to measure crime? How to research it? What groups and actions are criminalized? Which are the main characteristics of offenders and victims in different types of crime? How to tackle crime? How to prevent it? How to punish it? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this course. The course combines the analysis of multimedia material, like movies and documentaries, with key readings on the topic. Students will be assessed on the basis of a group task activity and a final oral exam with written preparation. 

Crime and the City - Lucas Melgaço, Els Enhus

1st semester (3 ECTS) + 2nd semester (6 ECTS)

The overall purpose of Crime and the City (3 ECTS and 6 ECTS) is to give students insights in the dynamics of the city and in the way space matters to criminology. Space influences citizens’ lives, practices, experiences and emotions, at the same time that it is created and recreated on a daily basis by its dwellers, commuters, users, and visitors. These processes will be studied in their relationship with crime, fear, disorder and conflicts. These issues are analysed taking into account the broader processes of globalisation, social polarisation and cultural fragmentation. At a theoretical level, the course aims to confront, criticize and complement the dominant criminological thinking by including insights from urban studies literature.

The central theme of Crime and the City 1 (first semester) is fear. This concept will be critically discussed, decomposed in its different meanings and connections to the city. Different aspects of fear will be treated: 1) the relationship between fear and space; 2) fear of the other; 3) labelling, representation, stigmatization of neighbourhoods and fear of crime; 4) fear reduction strategies through urban interventions 5) the relationships between fear and securitization 6) a city walk in Brussels focusing on how fear shapes the city. The course will mainly discuss the case of Brussels but will also compare it with international examples coming from Latin America and Israel/Palestine. The course will be thought through the combination of lectures, the analysis of movies/documentaries and the discussion of texts. 

Crime and City 2 (second semester) will build up from the more introductory discussions from Crime and the City 1 and will more specifically focus on the topics of conflicts and social cohesion in the urban realm. These topics will be explored through a multiplicity of subthemes that include: 1) conflicts in public spaces, protests and the right to the city; 2) Ethnomethodology: how to conduct observation in public spaces; 3) a critical analysis of environmental criminology, hotspots and crime maps; 4) cities of walls and borders: segregation and gated communities; 5) “smart cities,” security and surveillance 6) top down and bottom-up urban interventions. The course will also include two city walks, one in Brussels and one day city walk in an international context (a city from one of Belgium’s neighbouring countries). The course will be organized around seven interactive sessions of 3 hours and two city walks of approximately 9 hours in total. The course will be taught through the combination of seminars, interactive lessons where students prepare their projects in groups under the supervision of their professors, and the discussion of texts.