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Foundations in Criminological Theory

  • Module code: CM4001
  • Year: 2018/9
  • Level: Year 4
  • Credits: 30.00
  • Pre-requisites: None
  • Co-requisites: None

Summary

This module will introduce students to a range of theoretical perspectives and debates that inform criminology, and which underpin their learning throughout the criminology programme. Theories will be evaluated in relation to academic scholarship, empirical evidence, popularity and application in crime policy and practice, and in relation to their geographical, social, cultural, historical locations.

Students will learn about a changing and dynamic field of study, which has encompassed both positivistic and social analyses of crime and criminalisation. They will learn to evaluate criminological theory in relation to a range of intellectual movements. They will be encouraged to understand criminological theory in relation to shifts across allied subjects like sociology, gender studies, critical race studies, social policy, politics and psychology.

Aims

  • To introduce students to criminology as an academic field of study.
  • To enable students to make connections between criminological theories, crime policies and practices in social, cultural, political, historical and disciplinary contexts.  
  • To equip students with the skills to evaluate criminological theory
  • To equip students with key academic study skills, with an emphasis on scholarly writing.

Learning outcomes

  • Understand criminology as an academic field of study, relational to historical and intellectual movements across the social sciences.
  • Make connections between criminological theories, crime policies and practices
  • Understand the relevance of social, cultural, political, historical and disciplinary contexts for criminology, crime, and criminalisation.
  • Evaluate criminological theory in relation to empirical evidence, popularity and application.
  • Be able to use a range of academic skills in order to read, interpret, analyse, and communicate their knowledge and understanding of criminological theory and academic research.
  • Be able to use a range of academic skills, specifically writing, in order to critically appraise and evaluate their knowledge and understanding of criminological theory and academic research.

Curriculum content

  • Theory, criminological inquiry and scholarship
  • Historical developments in criminological theory and knowledge
  • Sociological and Criminological theories and paradigms
  • The relationship between criminology, popular culture, politics and the state
  • Evaluating criminological theories and academic research
  • The social and relational construction and representation of crime and criminality
  • Individual, general deterrent, and prevention theories on crime
  • Biological theories of crime and criminality
  • Psychological theories of crime and criminality
  • Critical criminology approaches to criminology, crime and criminality
  • Cultural criminology approaches to criminology, crime and criminality
  • Feminist criminology approaches to criminology, crime and criminality
  • Post-structural approaches to criminology, crime and criminality
  • Academic skills, with a focus on writing

Teaching and learning strategy

In teaching block 1, there is emphasis on introducing students to criminology as a subject field and explanation and evaluation of the key criminological ‘schools' of thought. There is emphasis on knowledge and theory building. In teaching block 2, there is emphasis on critically analysing the evolution of criminology as a subject field throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

The module is delivered through an extended lecture. Lectures are designed to introduce students to the key features, critiques and application of criminological theory. They provide time for clarification of each topic through interactive workshop-style discussion amongst students and between students and lecturer.

The first four learning outcomes are achieved through weekly extended lectures as the module lecturers draw out connections between criminological theories, criminal justice policies and practices, the intellectual and research movements to which they relate, and their historical, geographical, social and political contexts.

The final two learning outcomes are achieved via the extended lectures, which will provide a forum for students to develop and become proficient in their academic writing skills and engagement with criminological debates. This will be achieved through in-lecture ‘feed forward' and reflection activities and formative assessments on academic practice, specifically academic reading and the relationship between academic reading and writing.

Breakdown of Teaching and Learning Hours

Definitive KIS Category Indicative Description Hours
Scheduled learning and teaching 21 lectures of three hours each 63
Guided independent study Student independent study 237
Total (number of credits x 10) 300

Assessment strategy

Formative assessments are undertaken through independent study and within ‘Writing Masterclasses' that take place in teaching blocks 1 and 2. Writing Masterclasses will ensure that students obtain constructive feedback from both student peers and the lecturer so that they can assess their progress on the module and prepare themselves through ‘feed forward' activities. These connect to the final two learning outcomes for the module, which focus on academic reading and writing skills. Masterclasses and formative assessments will cover essay planning and critical thinking skills: substantive content, outline, structure, academic debate, referencing, relevant sources, module assessment criteria, class-marks, plagiarism and academic misconduct. Taken together, this introduces students to how their work is assessed in a higher education context. Students will be invited to discuss the outcome of their formative assessments and experiences of the Writing Masterclasses with module lecturers in ‘open door' sessions.

The summative assessments are: a references list (SA1/10%), an academic essay (SA2/1000 words/40%) and an in-class test (SA3/1500 words/50%). Summative assessments relate to the module's substantive learning outcomes 1-4, and the module's emphasis on scholarly writing skills in learning outcomes 5-6.

Summative Assessment 1

A references list, formatted using the Harvard style, of five criminology sources. These will include a range of course relevant to the module including: websites, journal articles, book chapters and a book. The purpose of this assessment is to familiarise students with what constitutes an appropriate and relevant source, and to ensure that students understand the significance of effective formatting and academic regulations. 10% of overall module mark.

 Summative Assessment 2

1000 word essay. The focus of summative assessment 1 will be on outlining a criminological school of thought and evaluating its relevance to a real-world issue. This assesses students' knowledge of criminological theory, its relevance to real-world policy and practice, and academic writing skills. 40% of overall module mark.

SA3: Summative Assessment 3

1500 word essay. The focus of summative assessment 3 will be on critically evaluating historical developments in criminological theory. It will assess students' critical thinking abilities. 50% of overall mark.

Mapping of Learning Outcomes to Assessment Strategy (Indicative)

Learning Outcome Assessment Strategy
Understand criminology as an academic field of study, relational to historical and intellectual movements across the social sciences. SA2 and SA3
Make connections between criminological theories, crime policies and practices SA2 and SA3
Understand the relevance of social, cultural, political, historical and disciplinary contexts for criminology, crime, and criminalisation. SA2 and SA3
Evaluate criminological theory in relation to empirical evidence, popularity and application. SA2 and SA3
Be able to use a range of academic skills, specifically writing, in order to plan and complete an academic essay, which showcases their knowledge and understanding of criminological theory and academic research. SA1, SA2 and SA3
Be able to use a range of academic skills, specifically writing, in order to critically appraise and evaluate their knowledge and understanding of criminological theory and academic research SA1, SA2 and SA3

Breakdown of Major Categories of Assessment

Assessment Type Assessment Name Assessment Weighting
CWK Reference list 10
CWK Essay 1000 words 40
CWK essay 1500 words 50
Total (to equal 100%) 100%

Achieving a pass

It IS NOT a requirement that any major assessment category is passed separately in order to achieve an overall pass for the module

Bibliography core texts

Walklate, S (2008) Criminology, The Basics, London: Routledge

Carrabine, E. et al. (2014) Criminology; A sociological introduction 3rd ed., London: Routledge 

Hall, S. and Winlow, S. (2012) New Directions in Criminological Theory, London: Routledge

Bibliography recommended reading

Ferrell, J., Hayward, K., and Young, J. (2008) Cultural Criminology, London: Sage

Gadd, D. and Jefferson, T. (2007) Psychosocial Criminology; an introduction, London: Sage

Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hall, S. (eds.) (2003) Representation; cultural representation and signifying practices, London: Sage

Hall, S. et al. (1978) Policing the Crisis; mugging, the state, and law and order, London: Palgrave Macmillan

Foucault, M (1977) Discipline and Punish, London: Penguin Books

Jones, S. (2013) Criminology, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Newburn, T. (Ed) (2009) Key Readings in Criminology. Collumpton: Willan Publishing

Patel, T. and Tyrer, D. (2011) Race, Crime and Resistance, London: Sage

Squires, P (eds.) (2008) ASBO Nation; the criminalization of nuisance, Bristol: Policy Press

Walklate, S. (1989) Victimology, The Victim and the Criminial Justice Process, London: Routledge

Walklate, S. (2013) Gender, Crime and Criminal Justice, London: Willan

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