Search type

School of Social Sciences

Students outside a lecture theatre at The University of Manchester
BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Explaining Crime and Deviance

Unit code LAWS20412
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Law
Available as a free choice unit? No


The course provides students with an introduction to the main perspectives that inform criminological explanations of crime. Its content is both sociological and psychological, but does not require prior study in these disciplines or other criminology course units. The course explores the way the problem of crime is construed in official reports, case studies and political discourse. The lecture programme is normally organised as follows, with each session scheduled for two hours:
1. What is Theory for? From Classical Criminology to Contemporary Questions
2. Urbanization as Crime Causation: From Social Disorganisation to Social Capital
3. Strain Theory, Control Theory and the Reasoning Criminal
4. Symbolic Interactionism, Labelling Theory and Reintegration
5. State Ideology, Racialisation and Social Control
6. Left Realism, Crime Cultures and Cultural Criminology
7. Feminism, Gender and the Masculinities Turn
8. Life Course Criminology, Desistance and the Psychosocial
9. Globalisation and the New Governance
10. Public Criminology and the Good Society + Course overview.

The seminar programme is designed to help students excel in the assessments. The seminar programme is organised as 10 x 1 hour sessions. It is likely to be organised as follows:
1. What can theory do? What does a good theory look like?
2. Crime and the City. Does urbanization cause crime?
3. Victims of Circumstance or Criminal Personalities? Strain, control, social disorganization and rational choice
4. Policy Briefing Exercise: What does a good policy briefing look like?
5. Policy Briefing Exercise: Presentations of Draft Briefing Documents
6. How Socially Constructed is Crime?
7. Gender and the Life Course
8. Left Realism and Cultural Criminology
9. Globalisation and the New Governance
10. Essay Plan: Workshop


The main aim of this course is to introduce students to different theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of crime and deviance. It will help you to learn how to:

- understand and critique the different explanations criminologists offer for crime
- locate crime and deviance within a wider social and political contexts

Learning outcomes

Students who take full advantage of this course will learn how to: 

- understand and critique the difference explanations crimologists offer for crime;

- locate crime and deviance within its wider social, cultural and political contexts;

- be able to translate criminological concepts into policy recommendations, as well as appreciating the difficulties of such an undertaking

- argue the relative merits of particular criminological perspectives over more everyday explanations for crime and its control. 


Teaching and learning methods

The course is taught through:
- 20 hours of lecturing
- 10 hours of seminars
- Dedicated office hours/surgeries hosted by the lecturing team
- Online exercises are provided.

The lecture programme is designed to provide students with an overview of the literature on a week by week basis. Each will usually conclude with opportunities for discussion, either in small groups or as a single class.

The seminar programme is geared towards both ensuring students have understood the lectures and their reading, as well as providing exercises and discussion that will enhance performance in the assessment.

The office hours/surgeries are to provide students with tailored one-to-one support.

Knowledge and understanding

Differentiate the key theoretical approaches to crime from each other.
Understand the relationships between these theoretical perspectives, earlier bodies of theory, and the social problems that gave rise to them.

Intellectual skills

Outline the strengths and limitations of predominant criminological explanations.

Practical skills

Critically evaluate the level of fit between theoretical concepts and data about crime and deviance.
Identify the policy implications of particular theoretical perspectives.

Assessment methods

1 x 1000 word briefing note (20%) and 1 x 2500 word essay (80%). Please note Harvard referencing is required for the first assessment. 


Feedback methods

Students can submit an essay plan to the module leader on which they will receive feedback. Three of the seminars are committed to preparing students for both the policy briefing and the essay. Formative feedback is given during the seminars, in some lectures, and through comments on an essay plan.

Recommended reading


Carrabine, E (2017) Crime and Social Theory, London:Palgrave

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Gadd Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Restricted to: LLB (Law with Criminology) if not choosing LAWS20692 or LAWS20452. BA Crim. Students within Humanities.
Pre-requisites: None.

See Law School timetable


Return to course details