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Module details

SC104-4-FY: Introduction to Crime, Law and Society

Year: 2015/16
Department: Sociology
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: Yes

Supervisor: Dr Darren Thiel  
Teaching Staff: tba (Autumn); Dr Darren Thiel (Spring)  
Contact details: Jane Harper, Undergraduate Administrator, email: socugrad (Non essex users should add @essex.ac.uk to create the full email address), telephone: 01206 873052 

Module is taught during the following terms

Module Description

This introductory module aims to provide a brief history of criminological ideas, an overview of the criminal justice system in Britain, and an examination of the current debates in crime and control. The key aim of this module is to provide a critical introduction to the problem of, and responses to, crime. The module engages with taken-for-granted notions about the meaning and causes of crime and ideas about criminals. In particular, it examines different forms of crime, the relationship between the crime problem and wider questions of social order and power, the role of criminal justice, and the effectiveness of penal sanctions in dealing with crime and deviance.

By the end of the module, students should:

(a) have an understanding of the social context of everyday crime and crime control;

(b) be familiar with and be able to critically assess the key sociological and criminological concepts that have been used for studying crime, deviance and control;

(c) be aware of some of the key contemporary debates surrounding the politics, efficacy and images of crime and control;

(d) identify the specific research tools that sociologists and criminologists have employed to study crime and deviance, and be able to locate and critically evaluate crime data.

The module assumes no prior knowledge and is open to students from a wide range of academic backgrounds.

Learning and Teaching Methods

A 1 hour lecture and a 1 hour class meeting each week.


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark

Other details:
Available to: all first year undergraduates in the university

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 hour exam during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Compulsory for:

All first year BA Sociology and Criminology, BA Criminology with Social Psychology, BA Criminology; BA History and Criminology, BA Criminology and American Studies students


  • Suggested introductory reading:
  • Carrabine, E., Cox, P., Lee, M., Plummer, K and South, N. (2009) Criminology: A Sociological Introduction (London: Routledge)
  • Newburn, T. (2007) Criminology (Cullompton:Willan)
  • Hale, C., Hayward, K., Wahidin, A., and Wincup, E. (2005) (eds) Criminology (Oxford University Press)

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Prof Barry Godfrey
  • Academic Role: Professor

Should you have any queries about the Module Directory pages, please contact the Course Record Team, Systems Administration Office, Academic Section; email: crt (non Essex users should add @essex.ac.uk)