You will study these new compulsory units in 2019/20 if you apply for the BSc Criminology - 3 years or BSc Criminology 4 years including placement year course (subject to final university approval).

Critical readings in criminology

Aims

This unit aims to:

  • introduce students to classic and/or path-breaking texts in criminology and encourage them to think critically about the existence of a criminological ‘canon’
  • equip students with a set of skills that enable them to read criminological texts carefully and critically
  • foster an understanding of the context in which criminological texts are written and published (biographical, social/cultural, political and economic)
  • develop students’ knowledge base in criminology and foster an understanding of the connections between empirical evidence and theoretical explanations

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • give an in-depth, critical account of key criminological texts
  • appreciate that there is a range of different theoretical, conceptual, and methodological approaches in criminology, and be able to assess their strengths and weaknesses
  • develop an understanding of the breadth of topics that form the foci in criminology
  • start to understand and be able to discuss the differences in epistemological, theoretical, and evidential bases for different approaches in criminology

Content

The unit will take students through five classical criminological texts written in a range of national contexts. The aim is for students to read each of these texts carefully and critically. The lecture series will introduce each criminological thinker, the context in which the key text was written and published, sketch out its theoretical/conceptual/methodological bases, and outline the critical reception to the text in question. Students will be introduced to ideas about a criminological ‘canon’ and oeuvre, key points of debate that have come to define criminology, and prominent theoretical approaches to criminology. Seminars will serve as guided reading groups. Here, students will have the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the texts, recognise differences in argumentation and theoretical/methodological approach, and develop their skills of close reading.

Social justice and criminal justice policy: From redistribution to recognition

Aims

This unit aims to:

  • encourage students to think more broadly and critically about the meaning of ‘justice’
  • critically examine criminal justice using analytical perspectives rooted in the subject of social policy
  • provide students with an in-depth understanding of the concept of ‘social justice’ and its application within the social sciences and to a range of case studies
  • broaden students’ understanding of what constitutes crime, justice, victimisation, and harm

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  • describe and critically assess different conceptions of justice, recognising the ways in which approaches to justice are shaped by social organisation, political and economic factors
  • identify and assess the value of a social policy approach to justice
  • apply the concept of social justice to a range of different problems and situations, and recognise the value and limitations of this conceptual framework

Content

The unit is made up of three parts: the first considers different theoretical perspectives relating to the conceptualisation of social justice and how these relate to wider issues of social inequality and the conceptualization of crime in British society and beyond. The second part of the unit considers how criminal justice policy is made: the key actors and institutions such as the state, judiciary and civil society, and the centrality of the issue of social protection within this: what it is, how social regulation happens and what challenges face liberal democratic societies in enforcing it. The third and final section of the unit applies the material studied in the previous lectures to a set of topical case studies related to such areas as financial crime, corporate crime, and health and safety regulation. A particular focus in this part of the unit will be on how processes of globalisation are transforming crime and the implications for social justice.

Understanding crime and justice

Aims

This unit aims to:

  • ignite and encourage students’ interest in the study of crime and criminal (in)justice
  • enhance students’ knowledge of the extent of crime and trends over time and across jurisdictions
  • develop students’ sociological understanding of how ‘crime’ and ‘justice’ are constructed, and why some actions are criminalised and others are not
  • introduce students to major theoretical perspectives within criminology / criminal justice
  • cultivate students’ understanding of how categorisations such as class, gender, mental health, age, ethnicity, religion and nation are implicated in the construction of ‘crime’ and ‘justice’

Learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and critical understanding of:

  • how crime and justice are constructed
  • major theoretical perspectives within criminology and criminal justice
  • how categorisations such as class, gender, mental health, age, ethnicity, religion and nation are implicated in the construction of crime and the delivery of (in)justice
  • the connections between empirical evidence and policy, theoretical explanations, and institutional practice

Content

The content of the unit is split into two parts: Understanding Crime and Understanding Justice. The two semesters will introduce key themes in criminology (semester 1) and criminal justice (semester 2). The following are examples of content rather than a list of lectures.

Semester 1: Understanding crime

This section of the unit will involve:

  • critical examination of crime statistics, crime trends, the construction of crime, and media representations of crime
  • consideration of ‘new’ crimes related to the rise and widespread use of the Internet and global flows of people and finances
  • an introduction to key theories of crime
  • an evaluation of how class, ethnicity, mental health, gender and the life-course interact with crime
  • illustrations of the construction of a crime through key examples linked to departmental expertise

The exact topics will change depending on the specialisms of the lecturers, but at least one case study will be focus on crime and justice in the global south. Possible topics include:

  • domestic violence
  • the construction of ‘terrorism’ as a crime
  • genocide, atrocities and crimes of the State

Semester 2: Understanding criminal justice

This section of the unit will involve:

  • an introduction to the Criminal Justice system in England and Wales, with consideration of key differences to other CJSs around the world
  • an introduction to the concept ‘justice’
  • grounding in key concepts in criminal justice
  • an overview of the historical development of and key issues in policing, criminal courts, prisons, community punishments and rehabilitation
  • an illustration of the delivery of criminal (in)justice through key examples linked to departmental expertise

The exact topics will change depending on the specialisms of the lecturers, but at least one case study will focus on the global south. Possible topics include:

  • sexual violence
  • terrorism
  • mental health and learning difficulties
  • global justice and war crimes