Not available in 2020/21
Understanding Crime and Punishment

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr. Leonidas Cheliotis (OLD 2.51)


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Criminology. This course is available on the BSc in International Social and Public Policy, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics and BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This second-year core full-unit course is intended to introduce students to key criminological theories regarding issues of crime and punishment. It will build on, and complement, the new BSc programme's first-year core courses, singling out and further dissecting specific substantive themes (e.g., the criminalisation process) by exploring in detail major relevant theoretical perspectives and debates, as well as pertinent empirical research, both qualitative and quantitative. In so doing, the course will critically examine the merits and limitations of competing criminological approaches to issues of crime and punishment, thus also preparing students, both in terms of susbtantive insights and ways of thinking, for core and optional courses they will take in their third year (e.g., Criminological Controversies, Punishment and Penal Policy).

Indicative course content

Michaelmas Term

1) The 'Classical' and 'Positivist' Schools of Criminology

2) Psychoanalytic Approaches to Crime

3) Strain and Crime: From Durkheim to Merton and Beyond

4) The Chicago School of Sociology and its Approach to Crime

5) Subcultural and Cultural Criminologies

6) Reading Week

7) Labelling Theory

8) Neutralisation Theory

9) Routine Activities Theory

10) Control Theory

11) Revision Week

Lent Term

1) Marxist Criminologies

2) Neo-Marxist Criminologies

3) Left and Right Realism

4) Feminism(s) and Criminology

5) The Foucault Effect on Criminology

6) Reading Week

7) Risk Society and the New Penology

8) Late Modernity, Crime and Punishment: The Culture of Control Thesis

9) Psychosocial Penology: From George Herbert Mead to Erich Fromm

10) Biosocial Approaches

11) Revision Week


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Michaelmas Term: one-hour lectures in Weeks 1-10 (except for Week 6), plus a revision lecture in Week 11; one-hour classes in Weeks 2-11 (except for Week 6).

Lent Term: one-hour lectures in Weeks 1-10 (except for Week 6), plus a revision lecture in Week 11; one-hour classes in Weeks 2-11 (except for Week 6).

Summer Term: one two-hour revision class

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

One 1,500-word essay in each term (as mentioned earlier)

Indicative reading

General Text

• Newburn, T. (2073) Criminology. 3rd edition. London: Routledge.

The following companion reader is also availabe:

• Newburn, T. (2009) Key Readings in Criminology. Cullumpton: Willan.

Those listed below are general textbooks and edited collections which are strongly recommended for background reading:

• McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. (eds.) (2013) Criminological Perspectives: A Reader. Third Edition. London: Sage.

• Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A. and Wincup, E. (eds.) (2013) Criminology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Third Edition.

• Carrabine, E., Iganski, P., Lee, M., Plummer, K. and South, N. (2008) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction. London:   Routledge. Second Edition.

• Davies, Croall and Tyrer (2010) Criminal Justice. Fourth Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

• Muncie, J. and McLaughlin, E. (eds.) (2001) The Problem of Crime. Second Edition. London: Sage.

• Liebling, A., Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds) ) (2017) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology. Sixth Edition. Oxford: Oxford   University Press.


Presentation (30%) in the LT.
Essay (70%, 3000 words) in the ST.

The proposed method of assessment is a combination of long essay (3,000 words) on one of the substantive topics covered in the course (but not the one chosen for their formative assessment) due at the beginning of ST, and a class presentation whose aim will be to critically appreciate a specific theoretical argument due end of LT. The long essay will count towards 70% of the final mark, and the presentation will count towards 30%


Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Capped 2019/20: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication