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Ellen Vermet

PhD Researcher, Political Science


Ellen Vermet holds a Master’s degree in Criminology (KU Leuven, 2017) and a Master’s degree in Sociology, with a specialization in culture and diversity (KU Leuven, 2020). Her research interests are directed to the experiences of various vulnerable and forgotten groups within the criminal justice system and welfare services. For her first master’s thesis, she did a qualitative research on the perceptions of female partners and ex-partners of sex offenders, and was awarded the prize for best thesis of the Law Faculty in the criminological domain (2017). Her second master’s thesis was about the mental health of and the mental health care to Maghreb detainees from the perspective of psychosocial care workers and Muslim chaplains, an exploratory qualitative research in Flemish and Brussels prisons. Ellen is affiliated to RHEA (Centre for Research on Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality) as well as to the VUB’s Strategic Research Program EDGE (Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe). She is currently conducting an interdisciplinary PhD research under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Iman Lechkar (Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and Dr. An-Sofie Vanhouche (Department of Criminology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel). This doctoral research entitled “Islam in Belgian prisons in the aftermath of terrorist attacks: an ethnographic study on Islam, prison policies, experiences and masculinities” examines how the radicalisation discourse impacts current policies and experiences in prison (by focusing on micro-, meso-, and macro-level) and uses both traditional ethnographic (participant observation and semi-structured interviews) and innovative methods (digital storytelling).

Research Expertise: Criminology / Sociology / Culture and Diversity / Prison studies / Religion / Islam / Racialization / Radicalization / Lived experiences / Masculinities

Research Methodology: Traditional ethnographic methods (participant observation and semi-structured interviews) combined with innovative/arts-based methods (digital storytelling)


Vrije University Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, 1050, Brussels