Youth and Crime - SO535

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2017-18 2018-19
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) MR JD Cunliffe


SO305, SO333 and SO505


Stage 3 Students ONLY



This module provides students with a sociological and criminological understanding of contemporary issues relating to young people, crime and deviance. More specifically, the module provides a critical understanding of young people’s involvement in crime and deviance and the various responses to youth crime, especially how young people are dealt with by the youth justice system. We begin by examining current trends in youth offending and explore media responses and then go on to look at ‘the youth problem’ from an historical context. We will then go on to focus in depth on several substantive topics, including gangs and violent crime; drugs, alcohol and nightlife; young people, urban space and antisocial behaviour; and the youth justice system in England and Wales. Throughout the module, attention is given to the importance of understanding the connections of youth crime with race, class and gender and at the same time, engages with key theoretical ideas and debates that inform our understandings of youth crime. This unit provides an opportunity to engage with the most up-to-date debates in an area of great interest in contemporary society.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

12 one-hour lectures and 11 one-hour seminars


Available 2016/17

Method of assessment

50% essay (3000 words), 50% 2-hour examination (summer term)

Preliminary reading

Muncie J (2009) (third edition) Youth Crime London. Sage
Goldson B (eds) (2007) Youth in Crisis?: 'Gangs', Territoriality and Violence. Routledge
France A (2007) Understanding Youth in Late Modernity. Open University Press
Goldson & Muncie (eds) (2006) Youth Crime and Justice London. Sage
Smith R (2006) Youth Justice: Ideas. Policy and Practice. Cullompton. Willan
Muncie J, Hughes and McLaughlin (eds.) (2002) Youth Justice: Critical Readings. London. Sage
Maguire, Morgan and Reiner (eds) (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Oxford: Oxford UP (Chapter by Tim Newburn, on youth, crime and criminal justice)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of policy debates and key sociological and theoretical approaches to the study of youth and crime
Evaluate the relevance of 'youth' to study of crime and deviance
Demonstrate analytical and critical skills relating to media, populist and political responses to youth crime
Evaluate critically selected key areas relating to youth and crime and the youth justice system in England and Wales
Demonstrate developed research, critical thinking, debating, presentation and writing skills, including the ability to research independently and to take responsibility for their own learning

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.