CR5019 - Contemporary Issues in Criminality

What will I learn on this module?

Structured around key themes of contemporary global transformations and political economy, the module offers insight into contemporary issues in criminality. Students will be introduced to a number of contemporary crime problems and will be encouraged to consider how the subjectivities, motivations, opportunities and modus operandi of perpetrators are shaped by contemporary structural, cultural and technological conditions. The module is research-led and will reflect departmental specialisms which currently include state crime, rural crime, organised crime, drugs, white-collar crime and migration.

The module initially reflects upon the definitions and implications of processes such as globalisation and neoliberalisation in order to consider the logic underpinning our current global order. Consideration of the way in which global flows, power dynamics and economic culture manifest within this context will form the basis of students’ analysis of contemporary criminality.

Throughout the module, students will be introduced to a number of key issues in criminality in a way that aims to consider the broad spectrum of criminal actors. Moving beyond the narrow confines of a ‘traditional criminological focus’, students will be introduced to the criminal and harmful behaviours of those operating at various levels within society and they will consider the way in which criminal and harmful behaviours are shaped and facilitated by the contours of contemporary society. The module thus aims to offer substantive knowledge around the nature, scope and dynamics of contemporary criminal behaviour but also to offer students a theoretical framework capable of capturing the forces which shape these realities.

How will I learn on this module?

Teaching on the module will be delivered via lectures and seminar classes. Core theoretical and substantive material will be delivered in weekly lectures where students will be introduced to a series of contemporary issues in criminality. Student-led seminar workshops will provide a forum in which students can explore and discuss case study material in greater depth and reflect upon the findings of cutting edge criminological research in reading circles. Workshops will be used to discuss, debate, and reinforce knowledge and concepts and to explore the boundaries of contemporary criminal practice. Supporting resources will be indicated or made available via the eLearning Portal.

Under the guidance of the lecturers, you will be expected to prepare for, and contribute to, weekly workshops by reading widely and engaging in detailed in-depth discussion on contemporary crime issues. Lecturers will encourage you to identify appropriate subject areas for research, to devise manageable and well-focused written work, and to plan a schedule of work to function successfully as an independent learner.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Staff members will be available to support you via email, in workshops, and during scheduled office hours. There is also substantial support from your fellow students during workshops and outside of class.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. An awareness of the nature and scope of contemporary criminality and criminal actors.
2. An awareness of how criminal subjectivities, motivations and opportunities are shaped by political, economic, cultural and technological conditions.
Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. research and review academic literature in order to produce coherent written work
4. ability to engage in effective academic discussion around chosen topic and present appropriate and academically rigorous arguments.
5. Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
6. demonstrate intellectual curiosity, flexibility and openness of ideas when analysing a specific topic.

How will I be assessed?

Students on the module will be required to submit two written essays. The first essay will be 1500 words in length and will ask students to assess the impact of a particular element of the current global order on contemporary criminality. This component will contribute 40% of the overall mark. Students should demonstrate an awareness of the political, cultural, economic and technological features of the contemporary world order and be able to articulate how these features shape contemporary criminal practices. In the second assignment, students will submit an essay of 2000 words which focuses on a specific contemporary issue in criminality. This assignment will contribute 60% of the overall mark for the module. Students should be able to present a coherently argued discussion of a contemporary issue in criminality and discuss it in relation to relevant societal, cultural, political, economic, cultural, technological and/or environmental factors. A list of essay questions will be circulated by the module tutor.

Both assessments address all five MLOs.





Module abstract


Course info

UCAS Code LM39

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.


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