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Criminology and Social Theory


Module description

This module explores key contemporary debates of relevance to criminology and criminal justice using social theory. We ask how thinking about theory helps to give a deeper sense of these debates and of the assumptions that underpin them. We use theory as a tool that can help to illuminate and offer new perspectives on social problems and explore different modes of writing and reading social theory. At the same time we use contemporary theory to reflect on some of the limits of criminology and of criminal justice thinking. We ask what thinking theoretically has to offer contemporary social and criminoloigcal debates, and draw on a range of important contemporary thinkers to do this. The module will give you tools for thinking about these questions that you can use in your studies and beyond.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Why Theory?
  • Policing the Crisis
  • Colonialism and Modernity
  • Neoliberalism and the Punitive Upsurge
  • Feminism and Intersectionality
  • Racism and Social Death
  • Stigma and Cripping Criminology
  • Surveillance, Space and Bodies
  • Climate Change Denial
  • Race, Nation and Brexit

Learning objectives

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

  • identify, analyse and critique a range of theoretical perspectives which underpin key concepts and dilemmas within longstanding criminology and criminal justice debates
  • compare and contrast different theoretical perspectives within social thought and identify their relevance to criminological theory and practice
  • apply different theoretical perspectives to contemporary problems within criminology and criminal justice
  • undertake critical close readings of philosophical and theoretical texts
  • critically analyse, evaluate and compare a range of theoretical approaches and concepts
  • understand and adopt critical and reflexive reading practices
  • express points of view clearly and effectively in class discussions.