The View East

Central and Eastern Europe, Past and Present.

About the Author:

Dr Kelly Hignett is a historian and a lecturer at Leeds Beckett University.  Kelly’s interests primarily relate to communist and post-communist Eastern Europe.

Kelly’s research focuses on the historical analysis of crime and social deviance, particularly in the central and east European region and the former USSR; crime, deviance and underground movements/sub-cultures in communist regimes; the evolving relationship between state and society and experiences of ‘the everyday’ under communism. Her PhD research drew on a combination of archival research and oral testimony to explore the  evolution of criminal networks in  East Central Europe from the 1970s to the early post-communist period. Kelly has previously published articles in several peer-review journals and edited collections, contributed a series of shorter articles to publications including New Eastern Europe and  Jane’s Intelligence Digest and presented numerous papers about her research internationally, in countries including the UK, USA, Poland, Slovakia, Lithuania, Germany and Morocco.

More recently Kelly has  been researching drug abuse and the development of domestic drug markets in late socialist east central Europe. Her next major research project will focus on political repression  in communist-era Czechoslovakia.

In addition to continuing to develop her research into crime, deviance and dissent Kelly is also interested in the historical borderlands of Eastern Europe. From initial research into the historical development of crime and attempts to control crime in border regions,  she has become increasingly interested in some of the broader historical, political and socio-economic aspects of life among communities who have historically existed on the margins of state control. She plans to develop her initial research into a broader comparative study of this area.

Contact Details:


A Few Recent Publications:

K Hignett, ‘Spy Game Diplomacy’, New Eastern Europe, 3/IV (July-September 2012)

K Hignett, ‘Transnational Organised Crime and the Global Village’ in F Allum and S Gilmour (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Transnational Organized Crime, (November 2011):

K Hignett, ‘Crime in Communist and Post-Communist Eastern Europe’, Law, Crime & History, SOLON Online Journal, 1/1 (2011) @

K Hignett, ‘The Changing Face of Organised Crime in Post-Communist East Central Europe’ in Debatte: Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, 18/1, (April 2010), pp. 71-88

Hignett,  ‘Co-option or Criminalisation? The State, Border Communities and Organised Crime’, in M Galeotti (ed), Organised Crime in History (Routledge, 2009)

Major Current/Forthcoming Research Projects:


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  1. I have an interest in your research on the Chodove People (the reason can be easily inferred from my last name). How is your “The Guardians of Bohemia: A History of the Chodove People’ project progressing, and when might it be accessible?

    Comment by Barbara Weselak | January 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi there, I found your website via Google while searching for a related topic, your website came up, it looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

    Comment by Markita Grisson | January 23, 2012 | Reply

  3. This book is worth checking out if you’re looking for voices from the edge 🙂 Also Protestants in Communist East Germany by Wendy R. Tyndale 🙂

    Comment by Autumn | July 29, 2012 | Reply

  4. Hello, I am interested in your blog, and thank you for your research.
    Do you have any information on culture/arts during communist times in
    Czechoslovakia? I would like to read more about that. How the artists lived/worked who
    were not sponsored by the state.
    Thank you

    Comment by Carolanne Patterson | January 27, 2013 | Reply

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