Skip to main content


SOC2044 : Sociology of Crime: Social Control in Neoliberal Societies

  • Offered for Year: 2023/24
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Karenza Moore
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The aim of this module is to introduce students to theoretical ideas and empirical material that will further their understanding of crime, punishment and formal and informal means of social control in neoliberal societies. It will offer them a deeper understanding of control processes, which will inform their second and third year modules, including their dissertations.

The module will provide students with an introduction to the sociology of crime, deviance, punishment and social control. The first half of the module starts with classic control theories, alongside debates between social constructionist and realist theories of crime and deviance (review from SOC1034). Key authors and texts, such as David Garland’s (2002) The Culture of Control, helps students historicise punishment, crime control and social change. Crucially students will explore how crime control dominates how ‘social problems' are produced, framed and dealt with in neoliberal societies, through for example ‘law and order’ populism, and punishing the poor (eg. Wacquant, Tyler).

The second half of the module begins with an examination of how the ‘self’ is governed and disciplined in neoliberal states, drawing for eg. on Michel Foucault’s body of work. Week 7 acts as a ‘bridge’ between the first and second part of the module. The second half of the module then focuses on explicitly applying sociological thinking on crime, deviance, punishment and crime control to contemporary ‘social problems’, specific populations, spaces/ times, and control measures.

The examples used in the second half of the module rest on the research expertise of module leaders, which may include (but are not restricted to) social class, 'race' and racism, gender and intersectionality, spaces/times of crime and deviance, medical professions and knowledge production, drugs and drug users, and dataveillance/surveillance technologies.

Outline Of Syllabus

Review of Social Constructivist ideas (from SOC1034)
Review of social control literature (formal, informal, self)
Left, Right and New Realist Approaches to Crime and Deviance
Governance and governmentality
Knowledge production and power
Sociology of risk and risk management
The New Penology
Cultures of Control
Punishing the Poor
Governing populations through crime
Contemporary social control debates

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture12:002:00online, synchronous lecture
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials11:001:00podcast (1 hour)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00PIP Timetabled Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00PIP Timetabled Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00PiP Timetabled Assessment Support Workshop 1
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Online Timetabled Assessment workshop 2 (online Q&A)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00PIP Timetabled Assessment workshop 2
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1137:00137:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship


Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M401,500 words
Essay1M602,500 words
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation1MOngoing throughout module based on seminar performance
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first assessment will be focused on students understanding the background theories, concepts and approaches within the Sociology of crime, deviance, punishment and social control.

The second assessment will task them with exploring in depth Garland’s argument in relation to the culture of control, or exploring the implications of social control for certain populations.

Reading Lists