BASS Politics and Criminology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Crime and Society

Course unit fact file
Unit code CRIM10001
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course is about the problem of crime. It aims to introduce some of the central issues, themes and concepts involved in thinking critically about crime. We will be concerned with exploring how perspectives drawn from across the social sciences can inform our understanding of this significant contemporary social issue

Indicative weekly topics: (1) Defining and measuring crime; (2) The politics of crime; (3) Media representations of crime; (4) Approaches to understanding crime; (5) Gender and crime; (6) Race and crime; (7) Age and crime; (8) Crime, power & inequalities; (9) Bringing it all together; (10) Course overview & exam preparation. 


To (1) introduce students to the concept of crime and criminality; (2) introduce key approaches to studying and understanding crime; (3) critically explore the social and political context of crime.

Learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students should be able to: (1) Demonstrate an understanding of the social construction of crime; (2) Differentiate between approaches to crime and criminality in the social sciences; (3) Articulate the benefits of inter-disciplinary study of crime and criminality (4) Appreciate the ethical dilemmas connected with crime in a diverse society.

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching and learning across course units consists of: (1) preparatory work to be completed prior to teaching sessions, including readings, pre-recorded subject material and online activities; (2) a weekly whole-class lecture or workshop; (3) a tutorial; and (4) one-to-one support via subject specific office hours.

Knowledge and understanding

Understand and explain the foundational topics covered on the Unit

Intellectual skills

Accurately summarise and evaluate complex material;
Develop arguments in a logical and coherent way.

Practical skills

Research, collate and evaluate relevant materials.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Work effectively in a team;
Prepare and deliver effective presentations.

Employability skills

(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.

Assessment methods

This unit is summatively assessed by an online open book exam (Part A - 5 short compulsory answers; Part B - 2 essays from choice of 4) worth 100% of the overall mark for this unit. Formative assessment is by mock exam. 

Feedback methods

You will have the opportunity to practice the short answer questions similar to Part A of the  
exam through the weekly learning materials and in your lectures and tutorials. You will receive formative feedback during the weekly lectures and in your tutorials as well as being provided with example answers to the preparatory short answer questions. Towards the end of the course unit, you will have the opportunity to take a mock exam where you will practice an essay similar to Part B of the exam only. You will receive formative feedback on your essay prior to the exam period.  

Recommended reading

Liebling, A, Maruna, S and McAra, L (Eds) (2017), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. 6th Edition. Oxford: OUP.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 70

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Emily Turner Unit coordinator

Additional notes

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.


Restricted to: 1st yr LLB (Law with Criminology) and  BA (Criminology) students for which this subject is compulsory.  Open to BA (Econ) students on all pathways, BA Social Sciences (BASS) and other students may be accepted at the discretion of the Course Unit Director.

Available to incoming study abroad students university wide.

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