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SOC2044 : Sociology of Crime: Social Control in Neoliberal Societies

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Karenza Moore
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The aim of this module is to introduce students to theoretical ideas that will further their understanding of the relationship between formal and informal means of social control. The module will explore the concept of governmentality and how it is enacted in Modern and Neoliberal states, with particular focus on the role of the individual and the governance of the self and risk-management, as well as the tools of the State, especially the New Penology.

In order to fully understand these processes, students will first be grounded in the Sociological, Philosophical and Criminological literatures that have informed and produced both the tools of neoliberalism themselves, and critical accounts of those tools.

It is expected that this module will provide students with an introduction to the sociology of crime and a deeper understanding of control processes, which will inform their second and third year modules, including their dissertations.

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 control. Crucially students will explore how crime control dominates how ‘social problems ‘such as poverty are produced, framed and dealt with in neoliberal states, through for example penal punitiveness and ‘law and order’ populism.

The second half of the module begins with an examination of how the ‘self’ is governed and disciplined in neoliberal states, drawing on Michel Foucault’s body of work. Week 7 acts as a ‘bridge’ between the first and second part of the module. The second part of the module focuses on explicitly applying sociological thinking on crime, deviance, punishment and crime control to contemporary ‘social problems’, specific populations, spaces/ times, and control measures, with examples which on the research expertise of module leaders (here drugs, night-time economies, internet risk and security).

Outline Of Syllabus

Review of Social Constructivist ideas (from SOC1034)
Introduction to Realism
Left, Right and New Realist Approaches
Governmentality and the Self
The New Penology
The Cultures of Control

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture102:0020:00PIP Timetabled Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion130:0030:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials13:003:00Pre-recorded non-timetabled lecture (2 hours) and podcast (1 hour)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00PIP Timetabled Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00PiP Timetabled structured workshop 1
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops11:001:00Online Timetabled Assessment workshop 2 (online Q&A)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops12:002:00PIP 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
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 that have produced the New Penology and Cultures of Control. Students will choose one of five questions based on the approaches they have covered. The second assignment 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