My name is Tom Daems and I am currently a Professor of Criminology (hoogleraar criminologie) at the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC), KU Leuven, Belgium. Before taking up this position I was an Associate Professor at LINC (2014-2020) and an Assistant Professor of Criminology and Sociology of Law at Ghent University (2012-2014). I have been a visiting scholar at the universities of Edinburgh (2009) and Nottingham (2010) as well as at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (2014 and 2018). During my sabbatical leave (2022) I visited Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Berkeley.
Over the years I have developed a particular interest in sociological, legal and normative questions related to punishment. At LINC I coordinate research line 8 on ‘Punishment and Control’ which aims to foster, in particular, research in the field of (comparative and European) penology and prison studies.
Europe and European criminology have defined many aspects of my professional and personal life. During my studies I spent three months at the Karl-Franzens University in the beautiful city of Graz. Here I participated in an Erasmus/Socrates programme on European criminal policy. After finishing my first degree I studied political science and European criminology in Leuven. In 2002 I moved to London for one year to study at LSE’s Department of Sociology.
Much of my research and published work has a European focus. I published European Penology? (Hart, 2013) with Dirk van Zyl Smit and Sonja Snacken. This was followed by several other books: Europe in Prisons (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, with Luc Robert), Europa waakt (Universitaire Pers Leuven, 2018, with Stephan Parmentier) and Privatising Punishment in Europe? (Routledge, 2018, with Tom Vander Beken). This interest in Europe also returns – albeit more indirectly -in Electronic Monitoring (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), Criminology and Democratic Politics (Routledge, 2021, with Stefaan Pleysier) and Body Searches and Imprisonment (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023). In my inaugural lecture at KU Leuven (2017) I outlined some of the challenges for the future of European penology and elaborated some of the ideas that I first developed in a paper for the British Journal of Criminology.
In addition to my passion for (European) penology, I’ve developed a deep interest in criminology in general and the role key thinkers play (or have played) in its history, present and future in particular. In my book Making Sense of Penal Change (OUP, 2008) I reviewed the literature on contemporary punishment and penal change, focusing on the work of four leading scholars (David Garland, John Pratt, Hans Boutellier and Loïc Wacquant). Over the past fifteen years I’ve been involved in several book projects (as author or (co)editor) devoted to the lives and works of Zygmunt Bauman (Boom, 2007), David Garland (Boom, 2009), Stanley Cohen (Routledge, 2016) and Achiel Neys (Universitaire Pers Leuven, 2016). I also edited a special issue of the Dutch journal Tijdschrift over Cultuur & Criminaliteit with Bas van Stokkom devoted to the theme ‘Significant Others’. Since 2015 I have edited the Routledge Key Thinkers in Criminology book series with Tim Newburn, Shadd Maruna and Kelly Hannah-Moffat.
I am currently writing a book on the sociology of victimisation for the Key Ideas in Criminology-series of Routledge.
A selection of op-eds and other pieces for a larger, non-specialized audience was published as Misdaad & straf in onrustige tijden (Borgerhoff & Lamberigts, 2022).
For more information on my research, teaching and service to the scientific community and society at large you can also visit my LINC web page.