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Governance of Crime and Social Disorder

Vak 2014-2015

Admission requirements

Only students of the MSc Crisis and Security Management can take this course.
Students will participate on a ‘first come come served’ bases, with a maximum number of participants of 30.


The evolution in Western countries towards late modern societies led to a range of challenges in governance of crime and social disorder. Security issues became more frequent, more intrusive, more liquid and more complex. At the same time, insecurity about daily life conditions, and about crime and social disorder issues, grew. Citizens expect active law enforcement from the government and the exclusion of all possible risks, at all times. This evolution led to a stronger grip from the government and a trend towards a stringent ‘politics of behavior’. Late modern governance led in some countries to penal populism, penalization of the social, ‘responsabilisation’ strategies and exclusion of under privileged groups. Other governance characteristics that we will analyze in this course securisation through governance, are defining deviance down, plural policing, fragmentation and centralization, blurring boundaries and the consequences of the public-private divide.

This course focuses on governance of crime and social disorder in a comparative perspective. Students will analyze actual governance themes (mass incarceration, boot camps, pedophiles registers, anti-social behavior Acts, gated communities,…) from a historical as well as modern perspective. Students will learn to explain governance responses on crime and social disorder as well from an etiological perspective on the causes of crime (criminological theories, what, origin, frequency, patterns, appearance) as well as from a criminal policy and law enforcement point of view. In order to be able to discuss governance matters in a knowledge based way, students will get acquainted with international data sources on crime and the administration of criminal justice (European Sourcebook of Crime and Justice, HEUNI reports, International Crime Victims Survey). We will study the way in which the flow of offences and offenders through the criminal justice chain (police, public prosecution, sentencing and execution) shapes the law enforcement model and reveals the efficiency and effectiveness of its organization.

While public police remains until today one of the most important actors in tackling crime and disorder, this court reveals a comparative analysis of public police in different countries. Four different police models will be discussed: (1) lawful policing model, (2) community policing, (3) public-private divide and the (4) military-bureaucratic police model. At least, police systems in different countries will be analyzed, and a cross evaluation between models and systems will be made.

Learning objectives

The learning objectives of the course are:
1. Students will gain theoretical and policy insights in the etiology of crime and disorder, in plural policing, police models and police systems
2. Students will be able to analyze and evaluate actual governance issues in a scientific way
3. Students will develop a critical understanding of empirical research on police and policing
4. Students will develop analytical and critical writing skills by writing a paper
5. Students will be able to work in groups and provide a high-level presentation



Methods of instruction

The course will consists of lectures, tutorials, a presentation and self study.

Study load

140 hours

Hours required for lectures and presentation: 7 weeks X 3 hours/week = 21
Self-study hours: 119 hours

Method of assessment

The final grade consists of two mandatory assignments:
(1) Group assignment (paper and presentation) (20%) (grades equal for all group members)
(2) An individual final paper (80%).

  1. Midterm group assignment (20%)
    Students will have to submit a scientific group paper, showing their competence to explain actual governance issues (a case will be provided) by assessing in a critical way and evaluating theoretical and policy insights on etiology of crime and disorder (learning objectives 1, 2 and 5 will be tested). At least 4 scientific articles (a list will be provided) will have to be analyzed.

  2. Final individual paper (80%)
    The final individual paper consists of a comparison between police models and police systems in two different countries. The paper will compare these two countries based on:
    (1) Scholarly information (scientific articles, books, etc…)
    (2) Policy information (desk top research and document analysis of policy documents, etc)
    (3) International statistical sources on (1) the frequency and the nature of crime and disorder in both countries and (2) police capacity (public & private) in each country.

Leading reference system for both papers is APA.

The grade for each of the two exam-forms (20/80) has to be at least 5.5. No compensation is provided. The weighted average of these two assignments must be at least 5.5.


Yes, Blackboard will be available 10 days before the first lecture


See Blackboard


Registration for every course and exam in USIS is mandatory. For courses, registration is possible from four weeks up to three days before the start of the course.
For exams, registration is possible from four weeks up to ten days before the date of the examination.


E. Devroe (office B207).
Office hours: Monday-Thursday 09-18 h