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Dr James Tangen

Job: VC2020 Lecturer in Criminology

Faculty: Health and Life Sciences

School/department: School of Applied Social Sciences

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH.

T: 0116 201 3979




Personal profile

James is a Senior Lecturer ( VC2020) in Criminology and Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Criminology and BA (Hons) Criminology with Psychology programmes. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and module leader for Researching Crime & Justice (CRIM1014) and Digital Criminology (CRIM2090). James is a member of the Faculty of Health & Life Science Faculty Development And Review Committee (DARC).

James joined the National Probation Service in 2001 as a Trainee Probation Officer in the Nottinghamshire area. During his training, and immediately following his qualification as a Probation Officer in 2003, James was seconded to Youth Offending Teams and spent over 2 years delivering the Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programme (ISSP) to prolific and otherwise priority Young Offenders (PYOs).  James has also worked in a variety of Courts and has experience of supervising adult offenders. In 2006 James was promoted to Senior Probation Officer of an inner city team in Nottingham, following which he moved to supervising a community supervision team in Newark and Sherwood, a rural district of Nottinghamshire. Consequently, James has been responsible for the delivery of all aspects of probation services, from Magistrates’ Court liaison to Unpaid Work. During his probation career, James worked closely with partner agencies, including the police, social care and community organisations to manage specific individuals identified as posing a significant risk of serious harm to the public. This included chairing multi-agency public protection meetings (MAPPA Level 2), and working with Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood Community Safety Partnership to develop probation involvement with local Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARAC). 

In 2010 James took the difficult decision to leave his career with Nottinghamshire Probation Trust to pursue a long-held ambition of an academic career. Following the successful completion of a Master’s degree in research methods, with a special focus on public policy and management, James began studying full-time for his PhD. In 2016 he completed his thesis, titled ‘Instability in the social construction of victims of trafficking: A sociological case study of UK public policy’. This research explored the factors influencing street-level bureaucrats in the UK as they judge the credibility of individuals claiming to be a victim of human trafficking.

2015 also saw James join De Montfort University as a Lecturer in Probation, where his focus was delivering academic teaching as a part the Probation Qualifying Framework. In 2016, James transfered to the BA Criminology and Criminal Justice programme as a VC2020 Lecturer, which allows him to balance his teaching commitments with an equal focus on research activities. 

Research group affiliations

  • Global Peace & Transitional Justice Research Group (Co-Chair)
  • Institute for Research in Criminology, Community, Education and Social Justice
  • Media Discourse Centre

Publications and outputs 

Peer-reviewed Articles

Tangen, J & Briah, R (2018) ‘The revolving door of reform: Professionalism and the future of probation services in England and Wales’, Probation Journal 65(2): pp 135-151 10.1177/0264550518768398

Lucas, S., Archard, P. J., Tangen, J., Murphy, D. (2018) "Arrangements for adult service users who are homeless in English mental health trusts", Mental Health Review Journal, 23(1), pp.64-71, DOI: 10.1108/MHRJ-03-2017-0017

Book Reviews

Tangen, J (2016) Book Review: Mark Hardy Governing Risk: Care and Control in Contemporary Social Work.  London, Palgrave Macmillan, 232 pp. £65.00 hbk (ISBN: 9780230364158)’, Journal of Social Work 16(4): pp. 511-513. DOI: 10.1177/1468017316633922

Tangen, J (2016) ‘Book Review: Alice Bloch, Nando Sigona and Roger Zetter. Sans papier: The social and economic lives of young undocumented migrants London: Pluto Press, 2014, £19.50 pbk, (ISBN: 9780745333908), 200pp’, Work, Employment and Society 30(3): pp. 548-550. DOI: 10.1177/0950017015618135

Tangen, J (2016) ‘Book review: Esther Urdang (2014) Parallels between Writing Biographies and Clinical Practice: Impact. Influence. Value. Washington DC: NASW Press, 304 pp. $36.99 (pbk). ISBN: 978-0-87101-450-4’, Journal of Social Work Practice 30(4): pp. 459-461 DOI: 10.1080/02650533.2015.1035638

Key research outputs

Sadique, K., Tangen, J. & Perowne, A. (2018) The Importance of Narrative in Responding to Hate Incidents Following ‘Trigger’ Events, [Online] Tell MAMA. Available from

Research interests/expertise

  • Criminal Justice Policy & Practice
  • Digital Criminology
  • Human Rights & Transitional Justice

Areas of teaching

  • Community penalties
  • Digital criminology
  • Research methods


2016 PhD Sociology (University of Nottingham)

2011 MA Research Methods (Public Policy & Management) (University of Nottingham)

2003 BA Criminal Justice (University of Birmingham)

2000 BA Sociology (University of Nottingham)

Courses taught

  • CRIM1014 Researching Crime & Justice (Module Leader)
  • CRIM2090 Digital Criminology (Module Leader)
  • CRIM3001 Dissertation (Supervisor)

Membership of external committees

  • Remembering Srebrenica (East Midlands), 2019-, Board Member
  • BSC Midlands Regional Group, 2017-, Co-convenor
  • BSA Citizenship Study Group, 2013-2016, Co-convenor

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • Royal Society of Arts (2017-) (Fellowship)
  • Probation Institute (2017-)
  • British Society of Criminology (2017-)
  • Higher Education Academy (2016-) (Fellowship)
  • British Sociological Association (2012-)
  • Social Policy Association (2011-2016)
  • National Association of Probation Officers (2001-2010)

Professional licences and certificates

  • Diploma in Probation Studies (DipPS)

Conference attendance

Invited Talks & Lectures

Tangen, J (2018) ‘Shaping the victim of human trafficking’, delivered to the De Montfort University #loveinternational Seminar, Berlin: 13 September 2018

Tangen, J (2017) ‘Digital Desistance’, invited paper for the HMPPS Professional Practice Forum: Social Media and Criminal Justice, HMP Newbold Revel, 12 December 2017

Tangen, J (2016) ‘Critical issues in human trafficking’ invited lecture for the Global Sex Trade module, BA Criminology & BA Sociology programmes, University of Leicester, 26 April 2016

Conference presentations & seminars

Sadique, K & Tangen, J (2018) ‘Experiential Learning as Transformative: Teaching about Genocide and Crimes of the State’, delivered to 18th Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology [Crimes Against Humans and Crimes Against Humanity], Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, University of Sarajevo 29th Aug-1st Sept 2018

Tangen, J (2018) ‘What is Digital Criminology?’, delivered to the British Society of Criminology Midlands Regional Group Seminar ‘Digital Criminology’, De Montfort University: 05 March 2018

Tangen, J (2017) ‘The role of credibility in constructing the ‘victim of trafficking’ status’, delivered to the British Sociological Association National Conference, University of Manchester: 04 April 2017

Tangen, J (2016) ‘The challenge of evidencing coercion and control in the assessment of domestic abuse perpetrators’ delivered to the Coercion and Control in the Commission of Sexual Violence and Domestic Violence and Abuse Conference, De Montfort University: 11 November 2016

Tangen, J (2016) ‘Bodies, voices and credibility: Instability in the construction of the victim of trafficking status’ delivered to BSA Early Career Forum Conference ‘Embodied Citizenship: Mediating the State through the Self’, University of Nottingham: 18 January 2016

Tangen, J (2013) ‘Business as usual? The conflict between institutional structures and policy priorities in the field of human trafficking’ delivered to the Enquire Postgraduate Conference 2013, University of Nottingham: 10-11 September 2013

Tangen, J (2013) ‘Human trafficking, Article 26 and the possibility of world citizenship’ delivered to the BSA Regional Conference: Citizenship and Belonging: A Postgraduate Conference, University of Nottingham: 25 & 26 March 2013.

Consultancy work

  • 2016-2017 Independent Consultant reviewing clinical data for a social & horticultural therapy organisation.
  • 2014-2015 Research Associate conducting a  quantitative data analysis for the Leaving Care Survey for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (OCC), University of Nottingham
  • 2010-2011 Consultant researcher undertaking an analysis of risk assessment practices of a mentoring scheme operating at HMP Nottingham. 

Current research students

  • Tina Billington-Hughes (p/t 2019-2025) (First Supervisor)
  • Kim Sadique (p/t 2017-2023 by concurrent publication) (First Supervisor)

James is interested in supervising doctoral students working in the following areas

  • Community justice
  • Criminal justice policy & practice
  • Digital criminology
  • Human Rights & transitional justice 

Internally funded research project information

Emotions and transformative learning in criminology

#DMUGlobal, De Montfort University: Kim Sadique (Principal Investigaotr) & Dr James Tangen (Co-Investigator). Funding for two research and educational trips to Krakow, Poland, including visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and  interviews with educators and guides. These trips were key periods of fieldwork for research exploring the role of emotions in trasformational approaches to teaching about genocide and crimes of the state.

Professional esteem indicators

Peer Review

  • Anti-Trafficking Review, 2018- Present
  • Sociological Methods & Research, 2017- Present
  • British Journal of Community Justice, 2015-present

Journal & Conference Support

  • Enquire Postgraduate Online Journal, 2012- 2014, Editor (Online & Social Media Content)
  • Enquire Postgraduate Conference ‘Interdisciplinarity: Grounding social research and practice in an age of complexity’, University of Nottingham, 2011- 2012, Conference co-convenor

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