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Leiden Revisited: Social Control and Social Cohesion in Insecure Times


Admission requirements

This course is an (extracurricular) Master Honours Class aimed at talented Master’s students. Admission will be based on academic background and motivation. A GPA of 7 is recommended.

In their letter of motivation, students (a) reflect on the notion of ‘othering’ and social exclusion and, in so doing, indicate why these topics are of interest to them. They (b) also reflect on their own creativity – or what ‘being creative’ means to them.

Topics: Othering, bordering, migration, integration, citizenship, (super)diversity, social cohesion, social inclusion and exclusion, implicit bias, social distantiation, social control, stigmatisation, stereotyping, empathy, etc.
Disciplines: Sociology, Criminology, Migration Studies, Border Studies, Law & Society, Anthropology, Arts, History.
Skills: Empathy, self-awareness and self-reflection, storytelling (both orally and in writing), radical listening, socially engaged art, a broad variety of qualitative research skills, project management, social change writing


The focus of the Honours Class is a topic that is not easily talked about – or that many people feel uncomfortable addressing: the notion of ‘othering’, the stereotyping of groups within society that is often also accompanied by inclusionary and exclusionary practices. Or, to put it differently thinking along the binary of “us” versus “them”.

By taking the City of Leiden – also known as the city of refugees and the city of science, alluding to the central role of refugees and the university population in the development of the city - as a case study, students will go out and explore the perceptions that different groups in Leiden have about who is seen to ‘belong’ to Leiden and who is not, who are excluded and who are included in the notion of the city and, in so doing, who are seen as ‘the other’ and why. Special attention will be paid to the role of class, race and education and the influence of Covid19 and globalization. Othering and social exclusion are problematic for a variety of reasons, and therefore the City of Leiden wants to know (a) to what extent these processes are indeed visible in Leiden , (b) if so, how they affect social cohesion in the city and (c) how these processes can be countered.

Transforming society through art is a central premise in this Master Honours Class. By combining socially scientific research with socially engaged art, this Honours Class will challenge students to think and act out of the box and is aimed to take them out of their comfort zone with the intention to spark both personal and societal change. Art is used both as a method to engage in discussion with people about the central issues and topics but also as a means to communicate the outcomes of the research with a large audience of civil society actors, citizens and local policy officials of the City of Leiden.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Apply principles of critical thinking to complex societal challenges.
  2. Apply theories from various disciplines on the topics of othering, bordering, in- and exclusion, stigmatization, social cohesion etc.
  3. Develop tools to empathically connect with people and use these tools in practice.
  4. Identify your own (implicit) biases and privileges and reflect on them.
  5. Prepare and conduct qualitative research using the methods of interviewing and observation.
  6. Apply techniques from art-based thinking to scientific research problems and research outcomes.
  7. Present your work for both academic and non – academic audiences.
  8. Work within a group of students with diverse backgrounds.
  9. Reflect on your personal progress and role within your group.

Programme and timetable

The program will look as follows:

Students will have meetings (online/ offline/ meetings ‘in the field’) and we will have a couple of excursions in the period from mid-March (week 11) till mid-June (week 24). In that period we will meet on a weekly basis and sometimes even more than once a week. Sessions will take place on Tuesday evenings.

The program is built up in three stages:

Stage I: The stage of (self) discovery (+/- 4 weeks)
In this stage we will lay the foundation of this course: both on a theoretical and a personal level. The key scholarly themes of this course will be introduced and discussed during interactive discussion sessions. During these sessions we will use ‘object based learning’ which means that, where possible, we combine the reading of various scholarly works with viewing/ experiencing art in order to trigger discussions about these topics and come to a deeper (personal) understanding of them.

Lecture I – 16 March 2021 17.30-20.00 hrs: Introduction to the Course and its Challenges – Maartje van der Woude & Nanou van Iersel
Lecture II – 19 March 2021: Othering and social exclusion – Dr. Regina Serpa
Lecture III – 23 March 2021: Social Cohesion and Social Inclusion – Prof. dr. Anouk de Koning
Lecture IV - 30 March 2021: Superdiversity in the City – Prof. dr. Richard Staring
Lecture V – 6 April 2021: Leiden throughout the ages – Prof. Ariande Schmidt (focus on migration, science & social class)

The personal foundation for the rest of the course will be laid by actively engaging with and addressing where we as individuals stand on the key topics of the course, in particular the extent to which we have and are aware of any implicit biases we might have and that might influence the way we see society and groups within society. In various sessions we will (a) uncover implicit associations we might have, (b) learn the skill of deep listening to connect and empathize with different types of people.

Workshop I: Implicit Bias (week 12)
Workshop II: Deep listening (week 13)
Workshop III: Storytelling for social change (week 14)

  • Excursion to Museum de Lakenhal (TBD)

Stage II: Into the field we go! (+/- 6 weeks)
In this stage students will be getting ready to go into the field, which means getting into the nitty gritty of project management, data management, research ethics and research methods

Lecture VI – 13 April 2021: Research ethics & Positionality – Maartje /Maryla
Lecture VII – 16 April 2021: Archival Research – Chase
Lecture VIII – 20 April 2021: Participant Observation & Fieldnote taking – Maartje
Lecture IX – 23 April 2021: Interviewing & Focus Group interviewing – Maartje

Workshop I: Project management (TBD)
Workshop II: Data management (TBD)

Besides these lectures students will meet with their group members, and brainstorm via mind mapping about the topic and their ideas. During this phase they will also do their data collection. During that period when they are ‘in the field’ there will be online discussion hours during which students can discuss any aspects of their data collection with each other and with the teaching staff.

  • Excursion / Exhibition / Performance TBD

Stage III: Translating science into art (+/- 4 weeks)
In this stage students will be translating the data they collected into an artistic representation. In so doing they will be closely working together with Leiden artist collective Liquid Society. During this phase students will have several guest lectures from artists.

Lecture X – 11 May 2021: Art & Social Transformation
Lecture XI – 19 May 2021: Art & Social Transformation
Lecture XII – 25 May 2021: Art & Social Transformation Mei
Lecture XII – 8 June 2021: Evaluating your learning experience

Workshop I: Working on the Artistic Outing (TBD)
Workshop II: Working on the Artistic Outing (TBD)
Workshop III: Working on the Artistic Outing (TBD)

15 June 2021: Final Artistic Representation & Debate


This course will be a hybrid course: some sessions will be held online whereas other will be offline. Offline sessions can be held in the Old Observatory or in the Law School in Leiden. Besides this, students and staff will be meeting outside in public spaces to collect data (in groups of two) and to work on socially engaged art. With regard to the latter, meetings will also be held at the Nieuwplaatz in Leiden, the home base and work space of Leiden art collective Liquid Society.

Reading list

We will be reading (parts from) the following works:

  • Bosworth, M., & Guild, M. (2008). Governing through migration control: Security and citizenship in Britain. The British journal of criminology, 48(6), 703-719.

  • Chapman, S. G. (2012). The Five Keys to Mindful Communication: Using Deep Listening and Mindful Speech to Strengthen Relationships, Heal Confli cts, and Accomplish Your Goals. Shambhala Publications.

  • Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (2015) Sociale samenhang 2015: Wat ons bindt en verdeelt. Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek.

  • Cohen, J. H. (2000). Problems in the Field: Participant Observation and the Assumption of Neutrality, Field Methods, 12(4), 316–333.

  • Dunlap, L. (2007). Undoing the silence: Six tools for social change writing. New Village Press.

  • Flora, J., and Andersen, A. O. (2019) Taking note: a kaleidoscopic view on two, or three, modes of fieldnoting, Qualitative Research, 19(5), 540–559.

  • Fujii, L. (2012). Research Ethics 101: Dilemmas and Responsibilities. PS: Political Science & Politics, 45(4), 717-723.

  • Huygen, A., & De Meere, F. (2008). De invloed en effecten van sociale samenhang. Utrecht: Verwey-Jonker Instituut.

  • Israel, M. (2017). Research Ethics and Integrity in Socio-legal Studies and Legal Research, in McConville, M. and Chui, W.H. (eds.) Research Methods for Law, 2nd ed. (pp. 180-203). Edinburgh University Press.

  • Postelnicescu, C. (2016). Europe's New Identity: The Refugee Crisis and the Rise of Nationalism. Europe’s Journal of Psychology. 12. 203-209.

  • Vertovec, S. (2007) Super-diversity and its implications, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30:6, 1024-1054, DOI: 10.1080/01419870701599465

  • De Waal, F. (2010). The age of empathy: Nature's lessons for a kinder society. Broadway Books.

  • Webley, L. (2019). The Why and How To of Conducting a Socio-Legal Empirical Research Project. In Creutzfeldt, N., Mason, M., & McConnachie, K. (Eds.). Routledge Handbook of Socio-Legal Theory and Methods. (pp. 58-69). London: Routledge

  • Walker, S. (1997). Complaints against the police: A focus group study of citizen perceptions, goals, and expectations. Criminal Justice Review, 22(2), 207-226.

  • Williams, M. (2009). Socio-legal studies and the humanities – law, interdisciplinarity and integrity. International Journal of Law in Context, 5(3), 243-261.

  • Wolfinger, N. (2002). On writing fieldnotes: collection strategies and background expectancies, Qualitative Research, 2(1): 85-95.

Other possible literature will be announced in class or via Brightspace.

Course load and teaching method

This course is worth 10 ECTS, which means the total course load equals 280 hours.

  • Lectures: 14 mandatory lectures of 2.5 hours

  • 14 Weekly online non-mandatory chat sessions of 2 hours

  • Seminars: 9 mandatory workshops of 2 hours

  • Excursion: 2 mandatory excursions of 4 hours

  • Literature reading & assignments for workshops: 8 hours p/week (for duration of 14 weeks and this includes the fieldwork weeks in which data should be collected so there will be weeks when students will use 10 hours whereas in other it might be less, this is an average)

  • Fieldwork & final assignment : 80 hours

Assessment methods

The assessment methods will look as follows:

Group assessment:

  • Brainstorm one pager – P/F

  • Deep listening exercise – P/ F

  • Data management plan – P/F

  • Data collection – 25 %

  • Final artistic outing - 25%

Individual assessment:

  • Participation – 10 %

  • Participant Observation Exercise – P/F

  • Personal Archive Exercise – P/ F

  • Popular Scientific Blog – 15%

  • Learning journal and reflection - 25%

Students can only pass this course after successful completion of all partial exams.

Brightspace and uSis

Brightspace will be used in this course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Master Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Registration process

Enrolling in this course is possible from 1 up to and including 14 February through the Honours Academy. The registration link will be posted on the student website of the Honours Academy.


Prof. dr. mr. Maartje van der Woude (Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance & Society – Leiden Law School)