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BASS Politics and Sociology / Course details
Year of entry: 2023
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Course unit details:
Serious and Organised Crime
|Unit level||Level 3|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 1|
|Offered by||School of Social Sciences|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Countering organised crime has been accorded high priority by many states and intergovernmental bodies, however, the concept is ill-defined and often subject to clichéd, analytically weak discourse. This course reframes the debate to think in terms of how serious crimes are organised. We analyse the nature and organisation of criminal activities such as modern slavery and money laundering (i.e. the crime commission process) and think about how the actors involved cooperate and work together to accomplish their goals (i.e. how their networks are socially organised). In this sense, we consider how the criminal behaviours of groups of illicit actors are shaped by wider social conditions.
Indicative content: (1) Introduction to the course; (2) Offending & victimisation explained; (3) Organising serious crimes for gain; (4) Regulating and controlling organised crime; (5) Drugs and cryptomarkets; (6) Modern slavery; (7) Organised criminal networks; (8) Cybercrime; (9) Illicit financial flows; (10) Course summary and assignment support.
This course unit aims to (1) Engage students with debates concerning contemporary organised and serious crimes and their nature, organisation, causes and control, (2) understand how crimes are organised across time and space, by whom, and under which conditions, (3) provide students with state of the art research materials on the concept of organising serious crimes for gain, (4) understand how the concept of organised crime is utilised as a means of defining policy and intervention at the national and international levels.
On successful completion of this module students will be able to (1) understand the academic and policy debates concerning organised crime, (2) demonstrate a critical understanding of organised crime and associated issues, (3) demonstrate a critical understanding of (inter/trans-national) state and non-state responses to organised crime.
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching methods will be flexible and allow us to adapt to changing conditions, however, the common intention across units is to provide a blended offer of the best in online and on-campus teaching that includes: (1) whole-class sessions used for a range of exercises and activities; (2) high quality online learning materials; (3) a tutorial; (4) 1:1 support via a subject-specific contact hour.
Knowledge and understanding
Understand the debates concerning organised crime
Demonstrate a critical understanding of organised crime
Demonstrate a critical understanding of official responses to issues of organised crime and migration
Develop a coherent argument in relation to the main areas of study Independence of thought and the ability to critically appraise the quality of one's own reasoning;
Effective use of literature and the use of appropriate referencing / bibliography in essays
Clear and accurate use of language with appropriate grammar / punctuation / spelling
Transferable skills and personal qualities
A number of personal and transferable skills will be developed including independent learning skills, time management skills, and critical analytical skills. Students will be required to work co-operatively in order to maximise their learning
- (i) analyse, critique and (re-)formulate a problem or issue; (ii) rapidly and thoroughly review/rate argument and evidence from targeted bibliographic searches; (iii) plan, structure and present arguments in a variety of written formats and to a strict word limit, (iv) express ideas verbally and organise work effectively in small teams for a variety of written and oral tasks; (v) obtain, manipulate and (re-)present different forms of data; (vi) manage time effectively; (vii) reflect on and improve performance through feedback.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||80%|
This unit is summatively assessed by a 3000-word essay worth 80% of the overall mark, and a 1000-word blog post worth 20%.
Formative feedback (both individual and collective) will be given on (1) on tasks and contribution in class, (2) developing essay plans. Detailed summative feedback will be given on the submitted essay via Blackboard (Grademark).
Chapter 20 on ‘Organised Crime’ in Newburn, T. (2017) Criminology, 3rd Ed. Abingdon: Routledge pp. 431-462.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Rosemary Broad||Unit coordinator|
|Nicholas Lord||Unit coordinator|
Across their course units each semester, full-time students are expected to devote a ‘working week’ of around 30-35 hours to study. Accordingly each course unit demands around 10-11 hours of study per week consisting of (i) 3 timetabled teacher-led hours, (ii) 7-8 independent study hours devoted to preparation, required and further reading, and note taking.
This course is available to final year students only
Restricted to: BA (Criminology), BA (Econ) (all pathways), BA Social Sciences (BASS) and LLB (Law with Criminology) students.
This course is also available to incoming study abroad students university wide.
Pre-requisites: It is desirable for students to have taken 20 credits of any level 1
Please refer to your personalised Criminology timetable