Call for abstracts

Given the particular sensitivities of much research on deviance and social control (accessing hidden populations, researching sensitive topics and transgressive practices, etc.), methodological discussions have been ongoing in this thematic field since its inception. In recent decades, developments in criminology, anthropology, sociology, political sciences, development studies, media studies, and other disciplines have instigated the use of a wide array of innovative methods. Critical, reflexive and original work has been done using ethnography, visual, sensory, participatory and online methods – to name but a few.

Ghent University, the University of Kent, Utrecht University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the University of Porto, VU Amsterdam and the ESC Working Group on Qualitative Methodologies and Epistemologies are pleased to invite you to the newly established joint conference on innovative methods in the study of deviance titled ‘Between Edges and Margins’.

This two-day international conference is hosted by ISD (Institute for Social Drug Research) and will take place in the picturesque city of Ghent on September 13 and 14, 2018.

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

  • Eamonn Carrabine (University of Essex)
  • Jennifer Fleetwood (Goldsmiths University)
  • Fergus McNeill, Alison Urie and Louis Abbott (Distant Voices: Coming Home project)

We invite scholars from a wide array of social science disciplines to submit panel proposals, abstracts of individual presentations, posters and requests for the organization of workshops. It is also possible to organize a full ‘alternative format’ session. In this case, the applicants should be able to fill a timeslot of 2 hours with methodologically oriented sessions (e.g. presenting documentaries, photovoice, discussing your instruments, organizing roundtables and debates, performative sessions, collaborations with practitioners or research participants, etc.).

The conference also foresees workshops that will be of particular relevance for PhD students (e.g. qualitative software training).

We cordially invite colleagues to submit proposals on topics such as: 

  • Urban tribes and vibes: Ethnographies in the urban underworld
  • Studying seductions, pleasures and pains: The phenomenology of crime and punishment
  • Beyond illustrations: Visual and sensory approaches to the study of deviance and social control
  • Stories of crime and harm: Doing narrative criminology
  • Popular discourses, viscourses and ethnomethodology
  • Feminist methodologies and epistemologies
  • Participatory (action) research
  • Online methods: Nethnography and edgework on the (dark) web
  • Methodological sensitivities in ‘studying up’
  • Mixing the methods
  • On the edge of ethics: Codes and morals while conducting fieldwork
  • Trends in qualitative software

 A special issue of the Journal of Extreme Anthropology will be dedicated to the conference. During registration, presenters can indicate whether they want their (full) papers to be considered for this publication.

Abstracts and proposals submission deadline: May 15, 2018

Submissions and other info:

Venue: Monasterium Poortackere (Oude Houtlei 56, Ghent)

Other questions? Contact us via email:

Submissions will be reviewed by the scientific board and you will be notified of the decision before June 15, 2018.

We look forward to welcoming you in Ghent!

The BEM organizing team,

Tom Decorte, Olga Petintseva, Elke Van Hellemont, Michael Mills, Damian Zaitch, Kristel Beyens, Rita Faria & Yarin Eski