SO473      Half Unit
Crime, Control and the City

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Janet Foster


This course is available on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies and MSc in Sociology. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access). Places are allocated based on a written statement, with priority given to students on the MSc in City Design and Social Science, MSc in Criminal Justice Policy, MSc in Regional And Urban Planning Studies and MSc in Sociology. This may mean that not all students who apply will be able to get a place on this course.

Course content

This half unit course examines crime and disorder in city landscapes, the relationship between crime, space and place, and the complex mix of informal and formal social controls that influence different types and levels of crime. Drawing on a range of comparative literature from different cities, and using a mixture of classic and contemporary texts, we examine the importance of informal social control in maintaining social order in cities, the role of policing, and what happens when formal and informal social controls fail. We also explore the principles of crime prevention – both physical and social, critically examining the relationship between crime and design.


This course is delivered through workshops totalling 30 hours in the LT; teaching arrangements may be adjusted if online teaching is required at any point.

Reading Weeks: Students on this course will have a reading week in LT Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Indicative reading

Body-Gendrot (2012) Globalization, Fear and Insecurity (Palgrave Macmillan);  Bottoms, A (2012) ‘Developing socio-spatial criminology’ in Maguire M et al (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (5th edn.); Cochrane, A and Talbot, D (eds.) (2008) Security: Welfare, Crime and Society (Open University Press); Evans, K (2011) Crime Prevention: a critical introduction (Sage); Felson, M and Eckert, M (2016) Crime and Everyday Life (Sage); Graham, P. & Clarke, J. (2001) 'Dangerous Places: Crime and the City' in Muncie, J. & McLaughlin, E. (eds.) The Problem of Crime 2nd ed. (Sage); Le Gates R & Stout F (2015) The City Reader (Routledge); Monti et al (2014) Urban People and Urban Places; Mooney, G and Neal, S (eds.) (2009) Community: Welfare, Crime and Society (Open University Press); Pile, S. et al. (eds.) (1999) Unruly Cities (Routledge); Pitts, J (2008) Reluctant Gangsters: the changing face of youth crime (Willan); Wacquant, L (2008) Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality (Polity Press); Zukin, S (2010) Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places (Oxford University Press)


Essay (100%, 4000 words) in the ST.

An electronic copy of the assessed essay, to be uploaded to Moodle, no later than 4.00pm on the second Thursday of Summer Term. 

Attendance at all classes and submission of all set coursework is required.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2017/18 - 2019/20 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 35.1
Merit 43.2
Pass 20.3
Fail 1.4

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 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 differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching 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: Sociology

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Controlled access 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information