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Unit information: An International Analysis of Crime, Harm and Justice in 2018/19

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Unit name An International Analysis of Crime, Harm and Justice
Unit code SPOLM1065
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Pantazis
Open unit status Not open




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


Globalisation has fomented conditions which are facilitating the development, proliferation, and re-configuration of crimes and related social harms. Whilst nation states continue to play a central role in dealing with these social problems they are, at the same time, increasingly being influenced and even over-shadowed by international processes and institutions. This unit seeks to provide an analysis of crimes and related social harms, and justice from both national and international perspectives. It begins by interrogating the conceptual basis of ‘crime’, ‘social harm’ and ‘justice’, before examining and explaining international trends in crime, related social harms, as well as imprisonment. Case studies focused on drugs, gender-based violence, corruption, terrorism for example, are used throughout the remainder of the unit to understand both the extent and nature of harm, and national and international responses to them. Theoretical frameworks informing policy responses, as well as the political, social, cultural, and economic drivers of policy, are utilised to provide a comprehensive analysis of public policy in relation to crime and social harm.

Specifically, the unit aims to:

a) equip students with an understanding of the concepts of crime, social harm and justice

b) examine the nature and distribution of harm through cases studies such as corporate harm, drugs, and gender-based violence

c) consider both national and international responses to a selected number of cases studies

d) understand the drivers for policy and theoretical frameworks underpinning policy responses

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate that they have:

a) a critical appreciation of the contested nature of crime, social harm and justice

b) an understanding of the nature and distribution of a selected number of crimes and social harms

c) a good knowledge of national and international policy developments with respect to a number of case studies

d) a critical analysis of what is driving policy change

Teaching details

The unit will be delivered in 10 sessions of one and half hours through a combination of lectures and seminars.

Assessment Details

4,000 word essay. The assessment will assess all learning outcomes.

Reading and References

Key readings

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

Muncie, J., Talbot, D., and Walters, R. (2010) Crime: Local and Global, Devon: Willan

Drake, D., Muncie, J., & Westmarland, L. (2010) Criminal Justice: Local and Global, Devon: Willan

Pemberton, S. (2015) Harmful societies: understanding society, Bristol: The Policy Press