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Unit information: Understanding Crime, Harm and Society in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Understanding Crime, Harm and Society
Unit code SPOL10020
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Joanna Large
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


Crime and harms are significant issues in society. This unit introduces students to various forms of crime and harm which are prevalent in contemporary society through a range of topics including for example: youth crime, violence, illicit markets and crimes that impact on the environment. We examine the concept of crime and why critical criminologists and zemiologists argue that we should also study harm. In this unit we examine different factors which impact on crime, and why some crimes are more visible than others in the public and political imagination.

Intended learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this unit will be able to:

  1. Describe the nature and prevalence of types of contemporary forms of crime and harm in the UK.
  2. Explain how structural, social, economic and political processes impact on crime and harm.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of why some crimes dominate public and political discussions, whereas others do not.

Teaching details

This unit will draw on a blended learning approach. Students will engage with asynchronous taught content (including, for example, narrated slides and other teaching and research materials) and will be tasked to complete activities in preparation for synchronous sessions to present and discuss ideas and clarify learning.

Assessment Details

Part 1: Engagement and Collaboration Portfolio based on structured exercises (50%)

This assesses ILOs 2 and 3.

Part 2: Poster (equivalent to one side of A4) and accompanied by Annotated Bibliography (750 words) (50%)

This assesses ILO 1.

Reading and References

Corteen, K., Morley,S., Taylor, P. & Turner, J. (2016, forthcoming) A companion to crime, harm and victimisation, The Policy Press: Bristol

Davies, P., Francis, P., and Wyatt, T. (2014) Invisible Crimes and Social Harms, London: Palgrave

Hale C, Hayward K, Wahidin A, and Wincup E (eds.) (2013 3rd ed.) Criminology, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Hillyard P, Pantazis C, Tombs S and Gordon D (eds.) (2004) Beyond Criminology: Taking Harm Seriously, London: Pluto

Newburn, T. (2013, 2nd ed.) Criminology, Cullompton :Willan