Drug Policy Debates - SOCI8750

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This module provides Masters students with a criminological, sociological and cultural understanding of drug use and trade. It will be divided into three parts: the first will explore the cultural contexts of illicit drug use within modern society; the second will offer a detailed analysis of current and potential methods of drug control; the third will consider and evaluate practical issues facing the drug policy makers of today. Throughout the module curriculum, effort will be made to consider methods, issues and policies in a global, as well as national, context. Particular emphasis will be placed on the theoretical arguments underpinning the major debates in this field and up-to-date research will be drawn upon throughout.


Contact hours

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


Sociology MA
Criminology MA
Two year masters versions of the appropriate programmes listed above

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework – essay (5000 words) – 100%

Reassessment methods

Coursework 100%

Indicative reading

Barton, A. (2003) Illicit Drugs: Use and Control London: Routledge
Blackman, S. (2004) Chilling Out: the cultural politics of substance consumption, youth and drug policy Maidenhead: Open University Press
Chatwin, C. (2018) Towards more effective global drug policies Palgrave Macmillan
Manning, P. (2007) Drugs and popular culture: drugs, media and identity in contemporary society Cullompton: Willan
Nutt, D.J. (2012) Drugs Without the Hot Air: Minimising the Harms of Legal and Illegal Drugs, Cambridge, UIT
Parker, H. (1998) Illegal leisure: the normalisation of adolescent recreational drug use London: Routledge
South, N. (1998) Drugs: Cultures, controls and everyday life London: Sage
Thornton, S. (1995) Club cultures: music, media and subcultural capital Cambridge: Polity Press

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

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

8.1 Critically evaluate differing styles of illicit drug control
8.2 Display a comprehensive understanding of the links between illicit drugs and cultural contexts
8.3 Offer detailed and critical analysis of current policy issues in the field of illicit drugs
8.4 Make sophisticated links between important debates in the field of illicit drugs and their theoretical underpinnings
8.5 Discuss illicit drugs issues within an informed global framework

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

9.1 Demonstrate sophisticated skills in communication and in utilization of research and empirical data
9.2 Critically synthesise the theoretical contribution of different schools and disciplines of enquiry
9.3 Gather appropriate library and web-based resources for postgraduate study; make critical judgments about their merits and use the
available evidence to construct an argument to be presented orally or in writing


  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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