< ASSC102 : Crime and Social Life

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ASSC102 : Crime and Social Life

Department:Applied Social Science
Level:Part I
Learning Hours:400
Credit Points:40
Course Convenor:Dr SJ Kirby

Assessment Rules

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  • 40% Exam
  • 60% Coursework

CMod description

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The aim of this Part I course is to familiarise students with the discipline of applied social science through an introduction to the field of study and examples of the different ways in which contemporary social issues are researched and explained. Applied social science is multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary, i.e. different disciplines work together in studying a particular subject area. The disciplines covered in Crime and Social Life include Criminology, Sociology, Social Policy and Social Work. Our field of study is social protection systems, which refers to the policies, organisations and practices involved in the political regulation of the population of a country. Teaching is mainly by lectures and a weekly seminar.



Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabus

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The Criminology degree at Lancaster is informed by a multi-disciplinary approach which focuses on studying and analysing the socio-political and socio-economic contexts of crime, ?deviance' and criminal justice, including:  the social circumstances of offending, the social institutions and policies that regulate crime, and social factors that mediate participation in, experiences of, and responses to, offending and victimisation.  Additionally, the course considers broader notions of ?deviance' and transgression and changing understandings of crime in differing historical and cultural contexts.


The first year course introduces students to the multifaceted nature of crime through an explanation of:  (a) how historical and contemporary crime control problems are embedded in wider economic, political and social change; and (b) academic debates and public discussions that have historically surrounded crime and criminology, and their contemporary relevance.  Students are introduced to the multifaceted nature of crime as well as to the way that multi-and-inter-disciplinary inquiry into crime and social problems is carried out.  We explore those through examination of the following areas:  transnational crime; social exclusion; the ?underclass'; juvenile crime; corporate crime; crime and sexuality, gender and ethnicity; aspects of the criminal justice system, including recording crime, prisons, community penalties and crime control; serial killing.

Curriculum Design: Pre-requisites/Co-requisites/Exclusions

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Compulsory for which categories of students:

ASSC 102 is compulsory for students taking Criminology as a single or joint major subject and, additionally, it is a prerequisite for many of the Department's second and third year courses.

Entry requirements to the particular course:

None other than the standard university entry.

What must be taken with the course (the co-requisites):

Dependent on the scheme of study.

Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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The focus of the course will be contemporary crime issues with which you may well have a certain familiarity through debates in the mass media.  The curriculum is essentially based around demonstrating the relationship between social, political, economic and cultural processes and crime, in particular: 


  • how conceptions of crime are socially located
  • why some forms of behaviour become defined as deviant or criminal and thus worthy of academic and policy attention and others do not
  • what is the role and location of sources of evidence in the evaluation of issues and problems
  • forms of academic and policy argument
  • aspects of the criminal justice system.

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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The various issues which are the subject of current debates and activity make the course exciting and challenging to participate in but the underlying aims are to develop the skills crucial to any degree course in the social sciences while also developing an understanding of the multi-disciplinary field of criminology.  The skills of writing essays, developing discussions and taking examinations are common to all social science degree courses at Lancaster, but in this particular course, whilst exploring different contemporary issues, students should also develop their understanding of:

  • social science analysis of crime
  • contemporary debates in criminology and criminal justice
  • social divisions of crime
  • links between academic knowledge and legal, political and policy developments
  • links between policy and practice

Students taking this course should gain knowledge of current issues in criminology, understand their determinants and appreciate varying contested perspectives.  You will learn how to find, gather, collate and use in written analysis and discussion a range of factual and theoretical materials.  Work on the extended essay in particular should familiarise yourself with the scholarly routines associated with documentary and primary source research work.

The seminar work will help you develop transferable and study skills, including: reading and recording accurately; using and processing information; separating the relevant from the irrelevant; evaluating evidence and arguments; problem solving; critical thinking; disseminating information; working with other people; making presentations; setting goals, finding sources, and identifying how the process of learning works.  You will also learn to use the university's extensive IT facilities to find online information, whether from the internet, or the library's range of e-books and e-journals, access the course notice board, send emails, and word process essays. 

Assessment: Details of Assessment

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Assessment method and timing:

1 x 1,800 word essay (Michaelmas term)                   15%

1 x 1,800 word essay (Lent term)                                15%

1 x 2,800 word essay (Summer term)                          30%

1 x examination (Summer term)                                   40%

Lancaster University
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201