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SOC2086 : Post-disciplinary Criminology: Hermeneutics, Poststructuralism and Cultural Theory

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Elaine Campbell
  • Teaching Assistant: Dr Clare Fearon
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


This module will provide a critical introduction to the emerging work of post-disciplinary criminology. At its most basic, this new field of academic study is formed from an integration of the critical, hermeneutic and postructuralist traditions within criminology, sociology, cultural geography and cultural studies. It aims to introduce students to:

- Critical criminological, and interpretive sociological perspectives on culture, from hermeneutics to postmodern scholarship
- A range of contemporary theoretical and conceptual frameworks for understanding the relationship between culture and questions of crime, punishment, victimisation, justice, law and order
- A range of cultural theoretical frameworks for making sense of crime and space, particularly urban space
- A range of methods for analysing representations of crimes and punishment using different cultural media and forms
- Ways of thinking about the transformative power of digital cultures for criminal and policing landscapes
- Ways of understanding the cultural constitution of transgressive selves and others

Module Summary (For pre-entry promotional purposes):

The module is structured around the following thematic components. 1. Post-disciplinary Criminology: An Interdisciplinary Marriage of Hermeneutics, Poststructuralism and Cultural Theory; 2. The Cultural Politics of Criminality, Victimisation and Punishment; 3. Crime and the City; 4. Methodological Approaches to Post-disciplinary Criminology; 5. Digital Cultures, Crime and Policing; 6. Transgressive Selves and Others

Outline Of Syllabus

Theme 1: The Marriage of Cultural Studies, Sociological and Criminological Theory
      - The Legacy of Classical Theories
      - Interpretivism and Hermeneutics
      - Poststructuralist approaches and post-disciplinary theories
      - The contribution from Cultural Geographies
      - British cultural studies
      - French cultural studies

Theme 2: The Cultural Politics of Criminality, Victimization and Punishment
- Criminal imagery
- Narratives of victimhood
- Lives behind bars

Theme 3: Crime and the City
- The crime-city nexus
- Criminogenic spaces
- The misanthropic city

Theme 4: Methodological Approaches to Crime, Culture and Society
- Narrative analysis
- Visual research methods
- Discourse/textual analysis
- Ethnographic approaches
- Sensory ethnography

Theme 5: Digital Cultures, Crime and Policing
- Cybercriminology
- Digital vigilantism
- Mediated offending

Theme 6. Transgressive Selves and Others
- Transgressive/transgressed subjectivities
- Embodied and affective responses to crime and governance
- Aesthetics of punishment

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture62:0012:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00Seminars
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:00Assessment preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops61:006:00Student presentations and discussion
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops61:006:00Case study analysis workshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork14:004:00Self directed fieldwork
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity61:006:00Workshop preparation
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1158:00158:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures (2 hours) introduce students to the key theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches to cultural criminology; Case Study Analysis (1 hour) provides students with the important ‘hands-on’ experience of applying theoretical understanding of cultural criminological frameworks to a range of empirical data. CSA helps to build confidence in undertaking the group-based workshop tasks, and the individual critical case study assessment. Workshops (1 hour) are based on and develop lecture content; they are student-led and based on an analysis of different kinds of cultural criminological materials and case studies (selected by students) which enable students to make sense of the cultural relations of contemporary perspectives on crime and punishment. Seminars (1 hour) provide a forum for presenting, reviewing and critically debating journal articles relevant to the particular thematic. Students will be directed toward particular articles for the seminars and will be expected to prepare a critical review of these articles. Assessment preparation workshops (1 hour): these are compulsory sessions in which students can explore the key features of the assessment requirements and raise questions and concerns as appropriate. Fieldwork (4 hours); this is organised to complement and develop the theories and ideas introduced in Theme 4 of the module programme.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study1M60Critical case study (2500 words)
Essay1M40Journal review (1500 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Essay1MOptional: for the 1st assessment (the strictly journals review assessment)
Essay1MOptional: for the 2nd assessment (the critical case study assessment)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1) Strictly journals review: students will be required to critically review a journal article in the light of, and informed by their knowledge and understanding of different theoretical and conceptual approaches to cultural criminology, as well as their understanding of the substantive issues raised by the journal articles. These approaches are introduced and taught in Themes 1, 2 and 3 of the syllabus. Students will choose from a short list of journal articles selected by the module leader.

2) Critical case study: students will be required to submit a critical case study which will assess their knowledge and understanding of the theoretical, analytical and methodological insights which have been developed and explored over the module programme. This assessment requires students to demonstrate their grasp of the module material taught as an inclusive and linked body of knowledge. Students will be free to select for themselves the material and focus of the critical case study. There are optional formative assessments for both the Journal Review and the Critical Case Study; these will provide students with an opportunity to write outline plans of their review and/or critical case study.

Reading Lists