Theories of Crime - SOCI8690

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


In the late modern period we are presented with an extraordinary wealth of criminological theory. Past and present paradigms proliferate and prosper. This course examines these theories, placing them in the context of the massive social transformations that have taken place in the last thirty years. It is not concerned so much with abstract theory as criminological ideas, which arise in particular contexts. It aims, therefore, to situate theories in contemporary debates and controversies and allows students to fully utilize theoretical insights in their criminological work. In particular we will introduce the current debates surrounding cultural criminology, the debate over quantitative methods and the emergence of a critical criminology


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 178
Total study hours: 200


Criminology MA
Criminology with a term Abroad MA
Two year Master's in Criminology MA

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework –essay (5000 words)– 100%

Reassessment methods

Reassessment instrument - 100% coursework.

Indicative reading

Currie E. (1985) Confronting Crime. Pantheon.
Downes D and Rock P (2007) Understanding Deviance (5th ed.). Clarendon Press
Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E (2005) Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Lea J and Young J, 1993, What is to be Done About Law and Order?, London: Pluto
Lilly, J., F. Cullen and R. Ball (1989) Criminological Theory. Sage
Newburn T. (2007) Criminology Cullompton: Willan
Maguire, M, Morgan, R and Reiner, R (eds) (2007) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (4th ed.), Oxford: Clarendon. (But see also earlier editions where relevant, 2nd ed. (1997) and 3rd ed. (2002))
Mooney, J. (2000) Gender, Violence and the Social Order. London: Macmillan
Muncie J, McLaughlin E and Langan M, eds, 1996, 2002, Criminological Perspectives: A Reader. London: Sage
Newburn T. (2007) Criminology Cullompton: Willan
Taylor I, Walton P and Young J, 1973, The New Criminology, Routledge and Kegan Paul
Vold G.B., T. Bernard and J. Snipes (2002) Theoretical Criminology. Oxford University Press
Walklate S. (1995) Gender and Crime. Harvester Wheatsheaf
Young, J, Thinking Seriously About Crime. (website)

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

he intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Be familiar with the main sources of literature about criminological theory, from a range of disciplines, and able to use these materials for
research purposes
8.2 Have gained an appreciation of the schools of thought about the causes of crime and their relationship to the criminal justice system
8.3 Be able to critically evaluate diverse criminological theories and locate them within a wider framework of criminological study
8.4 Be able to understand the chronological progression of criminological thought

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

9.1 Be able to place the development of theory in specific historical contexts
9.2 Have gained an appreciation of how issues develop out of particular problems of public policy
9.3 Convincingly evaluate differing explanations of complex problems
9.4 Be capable of communicating complicated arguments about potentially controversial issues


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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