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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: SOC2018 Module Title: CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORIES
Module Provider: Sociology Short Name: SOC2018
Level: HE2 Module Co-ordinator: MCCARTHY D Mr (Sociology)
Number of credits: 20 Number of ECTS credits: 10
Module Availability
Assessment Pattern
Two essays of 2,000 words (25% each) and an examination (50%) 
Module Overview
This module aims to provide a comprehensive exploration of the major theoretical perspectives that have been developed by both criminologists and sociologists in relation to crime and deviance. The module will cover a number of theoretical developments from ‘classical’ criminological theory onwards, focusing in particular on innovations in the    and since the 20th century interwar period.
Module Aims

The module will aim to develop a critical awareness of how theories both contribute to an understanding of criminality as well as shaping and generating ideas and responses to the ‘problem’ of crime. The module will cover the following areas:


·         Lombroso, positivism and the birth of criminology


·         Classical criminology and the Enlightenment tradition


·         Functionalism, deviance and social control


·         Social ecology, disorganization and the Chicago School


·         Anomie and strain theories


·         Culture, subculture and delinquency


·         Interactionist, labelling and social reaction approaches


·         Rational choice approaches


·         Control theories


·         ‘Radical’ criminologies


·         Feminist theory and criminology 


·         Cultural criminology


·         ‘Green’ criminology




Learning Outcomes

Having completed this module, students should:


1.       Have a thorough understanding of the historical development of key criminological and sociological theories of crime and deviance.


2.       Have an awareness of the major contentions and arguments between these key traditions.


3.       Be able to apply a range of criminological theories to illuminate contemporary social problems.


4.       Understand the relationship between criminological theory and its impact on social policy and the criminal justice system.  



Module Content
Methods of Teaching/Learning
Selected Texts/Journals

Essential References


Downes, D. & Rock, P. (2003) Understanding Deviance (4th edition). Oxford University Press.


Lily, J.R.; Cullen, F.T. and Ball, R.A. (2002) Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences (3rd edition) Sage.


Tierney, J. (2006) Criminology: Theory and Context (2nd edition). Pearson


Rubington, E. & Weinberg, M.S. (2003) The Study of Social Problems (6th ed.). Oxford University Press.


Valier, C. (2002) Theories of Crime and Punishment. Longman.



Last Updated
September 2010