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Crime, Media and Culture (Level 6)


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor and tutor: Dr Tanya Serisier
  • Assessment: a 1000-word critical media analysis (40%) and 2500-word essay (60%)

Module description

In this module we explore the links between crime and punishment and media and popular culture. We ask why it is that so many of us choose to consume crime media as entertainment and how this shapes understandings of the criminal justice system. We ask about how news and entertainment media affect experiences of the criminal justice system and why it is that media representations of crime are so different to reality. We consider the growth of social media and how that impacts on crime and punishment, and look at what it means for criminal justice institutions such as the police and courts to engage in media or ‘image work’.

The module covers a range of different media and offers opportunities for critical analysis and engagement with these media, as well as confronting key issues of public understanding and misunderstanding of crime and the criminal justice system, and the strong public emotions that accompany media representations of crime.

Indicative syllabus

  • Introduction to contemporary debates about the relationship between crime, media and culture
  • Representing crime and criminality in news media
  • Representing victims
  • Crime and criminal justice in film and television
  • Police image: police media and communications
  • Social media and responding to crime
  • Consuming crime as entertainment
  • True crime and the boundaries between fact and fiction

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to critically:

  • assess key concepts in the study of crime, media and culture and locate these within a scholarly context
  • examine and analyse a range of media forms (including traditional ‘legacy’ media, social media and related technologies) upon criminal justice image making, image management and image consumption drawing on relevant academic concepts and theories
  • analyse different scholarly perspectives on the interface between the culture of the criminal justice process and the nature and cultural role of crime and criminal justice in society
  • evaluate different theoretical understandings of image making, image management and image consumption in the context of criminal justice institutions.