Global crime and injustice

Offer semester
2nd semester

Lecture time
Wednesday 12:30 – 14:20

Lecture venue

Course description

This course aims to introduce students to the varied ways of thinking about the crime problem and the consequences of the globalization of economic, political and cultural activities across the world. It introduces a number of key concepts in sociology, criminology and human rights that will help students develop a more inclusive and imaginative picture of how their lives are shaped by events and social institutions far removed from their local contexts and the range of harms that individuals and communities may be subjected to across the global North and South divide. Just as ‘global’ issues such as warfare, human trafficking, and environmental problems must be understood in an international context, so too must traditionally ‘local’ arenas of criminological interest be located within a comparative perspective, and understood as being shot-through with transnational and global dimensions. Overall, the course will examine whether and how globalization may bring various risks and new harms which challenge our conventional understanding of the problem of crime and justice.

In this context, there is growing recognition of the importance of new geographical sites of knowledge production, in particular those beyond traditional Anglo-American bases of power. This course will therefore equip students with the theoretical and methodological tools to ‘reach for the global’ in their criminological imagination by drawing on a range of case-studies framed from the global and comparative perspective.

Course learning outcomes

On completing the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe and explain the different ways of understanding crime and justice in a local and global context and the links between the two.
  • Reflect on the contemporary debates surrounding the nature, politics and efficacy of crime, social harm and their control.
  • Apply interdisciplinary concepts and ideas to the study of crime, its differential impact on social groups, and global responses to crime and social harm.
  • Apply active learning skills and cooperate in group work and novel situations.

Study load

ActivitiesNumber of Hours
Reading / self-study25
Assessment: Essay / report writing30
Assessment: Debate20
Assessment: Group project40



Required reading

2-3 article or chapter length readings will be assigned as required readings per week.  The following list is tentative, but will include readings such as:

Florida, Richard.  2005.  “The World is Spiky.”  The Atlantic October: 48-51.

Brafman, O. and R.A. Beckstrom, “The Spider, the Starfish, and the President of the Internet,” in, The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, pp. 31-53.

  1. Castells (2003) (2nd edition), ‘The global criminal economy’ in McLaughlin, E. et al. (eds), Criminological Perspectives – Essential Readings, London: Sage, pp. 516-526.

Brown, Wendy. 2010. “Waning Sovereignty, Walled Democracy.” Pp. 7–42 in Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. New York: Zone.

Pickering, S. 2014. “Floating Carceral Spaces: Border Enforcement and Gender on the High Seas.” Punishment & Society 16(2):187–205.

Van Veeren, Elspeth. 2014. “Materializing US Security: Guantanamo’s Object Lessons and Concrete Messages.” International Political Sociology 8(1):20–42.

Giddens 2004 “The Future of World Society: the new terrorism.”  Lecture delivered at the London School of Economics, November 10, 2004

Joosse, Paul, Sandra Bucerius, and Sara K. Thompson (2015). “Narratives and Counternarratives: Somali-Canadians on Recruitment as Foreign Fighters to al-Shabaab.”  British Journal of Criminology 55(4): 811-832.

Zelinsky, Aaron and Martin Shubik.  2009.  ‘Research Note: Terrorist Groups as Business Firms: A New Typological Framework.’  Terrorism and Political Violence 21.2: 327-336.

Fraser, A. (2013) ‘Street Habitus: Gangs, Territorialism and Social Change in Glasgow’, Journal of Youth Studies, 16 (8): 970-985.

Anderson, Elijah.  (1994)  “The Code of the Streets”  The Atlantic, May 1994.  Available at:

Hagedorn, J. [ed.] (2007) Gangs in the Global City: Alternatives to Traditional Criminology; Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press [Chapter 1].

Izadi, Elahe. 2015. “One out of 122 humans today has been forced to flee their home, U.N. says” The Washington Post, December 18, 2015.  Available at:

Molland, S. (2011). “I am helping them”: “Traffickers”, “anti-traffickers” and economies of bad faith. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 22, 236-254.

Andrijasevic, R. & Walters, W. (2010). The International Organization for Migration and the international government of borders. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 28, 977-999.

Wright, Ronald.  2004. “Fool’s Paradise,” in A Short History of Progress House and Anansi: 55-79.

Mascarenhas. Michael. 2015.  “Environmental Inequality and Environmental Justice,” in Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology. Gould, Kenneth A. and Tammy Lewis, eds.  New York: Oxford University Press.

Brulle, Robert J.  2016.  “America has been Duped on Climate Change.”  The Washington Post. January 6, 2016.  Available at:

Joosse, P. 2012. “Elves, Environmentalism, and ‘Eco-terror’: Leaderless Resistance and Media Coverage of the Earth Liberation Front.”  Crime, Media Culture 8(1): 75-93.

Jensen, Derrick.  2009.  “Forget Shorter Showers.”  Orion Magazine. 

Oriola, Temitope, Kevin Haggerty and Andy W. Knight. 2013. “Car bombing ‘with due respect’: The Niger Delta insurgency and the idea called MEND”, African Security, 6, 1: 67-96.

Campbell, Colin.  2002 [originally published in 1972].  “The Cult, the Cultic Milieu and Secularization.”  The Cultic Milieu: Oppositional Subcultures in an Age of Globalization.  Eds. Jeffrey Kaplan and Heléne Lööw.  Walnut Creek, CA: Altamira Press, 12-25.

Stark, Rodney. “How new religions succeed: A theoretical model.” The future of new religious movements (1987): 11-29.

Li, Junpeng. “The Religion of the Nonreligious and the Politics of the Apolitical: The Transformation of Falun Gong from Healing Practice to Political Movement.” Politics and Religion 7, no. 01 (2014): 177-208.:

Haggerty, Kevin D. “Modern serial killers.” Crime, Media, Culture 5, no. 2 (2009): 168-187.

Sandberg, Sveinung, Atte Oksanen, Lars Erik Berntzen, and Tomi Kiilakoski. “Stories in action: the cultural influences of school shootings on the terrorist attacks in Norway.” Critical Studies on Terrorism 7, no. 2 (2014): 277-296.

Hiebert, Maureen S. 2011.  “The Role of Globalization in the Causes, Consequences, Prevention, and Punishment of Genocide” 193-222.

Lo, T. Wing. “Triadization of Youth Gangs in Hong Kong.” British Journal of Criminology 52, no. 3 (2012): 556-576.

Hobbs, D. (1998), ‘Going down the glocal’, Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 37(4): 1-19.

Recommended reading

To be announced

Course co-ordinator and teachers