Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


[SI0202] - Responses to Crime

Module Code: SI0202
Module Leader: Rachel Taylor Swann
Year: 2
Semester: Both
Number of Credits: 20

Teaching Method: Lectures and seminars.
Assessment: Coursework (essays) 3000 words (40%) - Autumn Semester; Examination 2 hours (60%) - Spring Semester
Degree Schemes: Criminology, Social Science, BPS Social Science

Module Aims

  • To analyse the key aspects of state and non-state responses to crime and disorder in contemporary societies
  • To provide a critical overview of the institutional architecture of criminal justice and crime prevention in England and Wales, and the key policy shifts in these areas since the 1990s
  • To describe and analyse institutions and processes of crime control operating beyond, below and above the level of the nation state
  • To critically assess recent theoretical explanations of shifts in the governance of security and order in contemporary societies

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Comprehension

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the development and workings of the contemporary criminal justice ‘system’ and its key agencies in late modern societies
  • Identify the different workings and effects of state and non-state responses to crime and ‘disorder’ control
  • Recognise the contradictions and competing rationales of contemporary strategies of crime control
  • Reveal the significance of the political and normative aspects of thinking about crime and deviance and strategies aimed at its control

Skills (Application and Analysis)

  • Critically assess the relationship of criminology to, and impact on, the workings of the criminal system and its agencies
  • Compare and contrast contemporary criminological debates on crime control and social justice
  • Articulate informed views and arguments about the future trends in crime control and the governance of security and justice
  • Use and apply theoretically-informed empirical data sources to explain the functioning of different crime control strategies

Understanding (Synthesis and Evaluation)

  • Highlight the challenges of crime and disorder control in contexts of rapid social change and diverse geo-historical contexts
  • Demonstrate an ability to synthesise different analyses of the working of agencies of social control, both formal and informal.
  • Evaluate competing approaches to the late modern/neo-liberal governance of crime, disorder and security
  • Evaluate different interventions to address crime and disorder by different agencies and their respective control strategies

Transferable Skills

The module will contribute to the development of the following transferable skills:

Communication and presentation of oral and written arguments; constructive and critical data presentation and interpretation; inter-personal skills in small-group work; conceptual and analytical skills in comprehending, analysing, synthesising and evaluating arguments; self reliance and planning personal learning schedules

Synopsis of Module Content

It builds upon and deepens the work of the level one modules ‘Criminological Imagination’, ‘Theories of Crime and Punishment’, and ‘Introduction to Social Science Research’.  The focus of this module is on one of the two dyads of the square of crime, namely ‘crime and its control (formal and informal)’.  The ‘Offending and Victimisation’ co-requisite to this module focuses on the other dyad, the relationship of offenders and victims.

The first semester of Responses to Crime will review the institutions, actors and processes of the ‘modern’, bureaucratic-professional nation-state system of crime control (‘the Criminal Justice System or ‘cops, courts and corrections’), plus developments in crime prevention policies.  The second semester will place these developments in theoretical context, by examining the main contours of David Garland’s late modern crime control complex.

The module addresses the key thematic of the shifts in the discourses and practices involved in the governance of security.  These include the decline of the ‘penal-welfare’ discourses associated with the social democratic welfare state in the UK. It also includes the increasingly pluralised sectors of policing, penalty, prevention, and the techniques of multi-agency
‘community-based’ partnerships.

The module goes on to explore global developments in crime control, by introducing and assessing transnational institutions and processes in the governance of crime and security.

Finally, the module explores the possible futures of both crime control and criminology from a comparative social scientific perspective.  

Opportunities for Formative Assessment

Formative feedback on seminar work.

Arrangements for Feedback on Work

Students will be provided with copies of standardised feedback forms, and generic overview feedback for the assessments will be posted to Learning Central.

Indicative Reading

Garland, D (2001)The Culture of Control, Oxford University Press.

Hughes, G (2007) The politics of crime and community, Palgrave.

Maguire, M et al (eds) (2007)  Oxford Handbook of Criminology, 4th Edition, OUP.

Cavadino, M. and Dignan, J. (2007) The Penal System. London; Sage

Muncie, J, McLaughlin, E and Hughes G (2003) Criminological Perspectives 3rd Edition, Sage.