CR5001 - Concepts, Perspectives and Theories in Criminology

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What will I learn on this module?

Why do people commit crime? Why does crime increase or decrease? What should be considered a crime and how can we prevent it? You will explore these and other questions through an evaluation and assessment of the different disciplinary contributions to the study of crime and its control. The dominant theoretical orientation often presented as being most closely aligned with criminology is that of sociology, but any cursory assessment of the history, development and contemporary nature of the study of crime and control will show that it has been significantly influenced by psychology, psychiatry, economics, political science, law and biology. Indeed, while the historical foundations of criminology lie in biological positivism, and much of the twentieth century saw a dominance of what can be called a psychological and sociological positivism, more recently the discipline of criminology can be said to be much more integrative comprising a variety of theoretical perspectives and approaches drawn from the social, life and physical sciences. The module locates criminological concepts, perspectives and theories within this integrative framework as well as within their historical and political contexts. The emphasis is on understanding explanations of crime, of harm and their control through the application of different conceptual and theoretical approaches to specific forms of criminality, victimisation and injustice.

How will I learn on this module?

The module aims to consolidate your skills in areas such as team work and critical evaluation of research.
There will be weekly lectures over the course of the semester with essential information about criminological concepts, theories, and perspectives. Weekly seminars will discuss and critique this material, so it is essential for you to prepare beforehand. .

How will I be supported academically on this module?

This is a team taught module with three or four staff members available to support you via email, in seminars, and during scheduled office hours. There is also substantial support from your fellow students during seminars 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: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Assess the ability of the range of criminological perspectives and theories to explain and understand types of crime, harm and control
2. Critically evaluate the history and contemporary nature and impact of criminological perspectives and theories
3. Recognise the complexities of explaining crime and harm and the various internal and external factors that impact upon explaining crime, harm and their control


Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
1. To search for and marshal evidence to form a compelling argument.


Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
1. To have confidence in your own thinking and assessment of theories and perspectives, but also to be open to challenge and debate too.

How will I be assessed?

There are two forms of assessment for this module. The first will take the form of a 1500-word literature review. This will be submitted half way through the module. In the literature review, students are asked to describe in detail a criminological theory. Students can choose a theory from a list that will be posted on the blackboard site. Students are required to identify and use appropriate literature to display a comprehensive understanding of their chosen theory. The second assessment takes the form of a traditional 1500-word essay. Students are required to apply a criminological theory to an appropriate crime form. It is expected that students will use the knowledge and expertise they developed in the first assessment to construct their essays. For example, a student may choose to write a literature review on cultural criminology in first assessment, and then use cultural criminology to explain gang violence in their second assessment.

Assessment 1 addresses points 1 and 3 from the ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ section.
Assessment 2 addresses point 1, 2 and 3 from the ‘Knowledge and Understanding’ section, point 1 from the ‘intellectual/professional skills and abilities’ section, and point 1 from the ‘personal values and attributes’ section.

Pre-requisite(s)

N/A

Co-requisite(s)

N/A

Module abstract

Why do people commit crime? Why does crime increase or decrease? What should be considered a crime and how can we prevent it? You will explore these and other questions through an evaluation and assessment of the different disciplinary contributions to the study of crime and its control. The module locates criminological concepts, perspectives and theories in an integrative framework that borrows from a number of disciplines and research areas, as well as within their historical and political contexts. The emphasis is on understanding explanations of crime, of harm and their control through the application of different conceptual and theoretical approaches to specific forms of criminality, victimisation and injustice.

Course info

UCAS Code M900

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 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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