Youth crime in the global city

This course is not offered for study in the current academic year.

Course description

Throughout history, children and young people have been viewed as a barometer of social change, as ‘angels’ or ‘devils’ that represent the hopes and fears of society they are growing into. The study of youth delinquency – and responses to youth delinquency – can therefore tell us a great deal; both about the meanings and motivations behind youth behaviour, and about the broader society in which it occurs.

This course introduces key sociological concepts in the construction of ‘youth’ and ‘youth crime’ as well as the various intellectual traditions through which criminology has sought to explain youth delinquency.

In this way, the course aims to provide an understanding of the complex relationships between youth offending, criminal justice interventions, and societal response; with particular emphasis on the implications of processes of ‘globalisation’ for youth and delinquency around the world.

Course learning outcomes

  • Explain the major definitional and conceptual debates within the field of youth crime.
  • Contrast key theoretical perspectives on youth crime and delinquency.
  • Apply knowledge of both conceptual debates and theory to specific case-studies.


Term paper40%
In-class test30%
Discussion questions10%

Required reading

Students are expected to attend class having carried out the relevant readings for the class. Each week, there will be two to four key readings that students must read in preparation.  There will also be a list of carefully selected additional readings for students who want to delve more deeply into a topic. There is no set text for this course. However, if you wish to purchase a book to assist your learning, the following texts are referred to frequently and should give a general overview of the various core components of the course:

  • Muncie, J. (2009) Youth & Crime, 3rd edition; London: Sage.

Tentative reading schedule:

1.The Denaturalization of Youth, and the Generation

  • Lesko, Nancy. “Denaturalizing Adolescence The Politics of Contemporary Representations.”Youth & Society 28, no. 2 (1996): 139-161.
  • Ben-Ze’ev, Efrat, and Edna Lomsky-Feder. “The canonical generation: Trapped between personal and national memories.” Sociology43, no. 6 (2009): 1047-1065.
  • Groves, Julian M., Kaxton Siu, and Wai-Yip Ho. “The ‘Post-80s Generation,’ ‘Young Night Drifters,’ and the construction of a generic youth subject in Hong Kong.” Journal of Youth Studies17, no. 6 (2014): 829-846.

2.Socialization, Labeling, and Panic

  • Howard Becker “Moral Entrepreneurs” in Outsiders
  • Cohen, Stanley, “Deviance and Moral Panics” in Folk Devils and Moral Panics, p. 1-20.
  • Berger and Luckman “Primary and Secondary Socialization” in The Social Construction of Reality, pp. 149-166.

3.Subcultures and Resistance

  • Beal, B. and Weidman, L. (2003) ‘Authenticity in the skateboarding world,’ in, R. Rinehart and S. Snydor (eds.) To the Extreme: Alternative Sports Inside and Out. New York: State university of New York Press.
  • Tutenges, Sébastien, and Sveinung Sandberg. “Intoxicating stories: The characteristics, contexts and implications of drinking stories among Danish youth.” International Journal of Drug Policy24, no. 6 (2013): 538-544.
  • Miller, William J. “Adolescents on the edge: The sensual side of delinquency.” Edgework: The sociology of risk-taking(2005): 153-171.

 4.Youth and Compensated Dating

  • Ueno, Chizuko. “Self-determination on sexuality? Commercialization of sex among teenage girls in Japan 1.” Inter-Asia Cultural Studies4, no. 2 (2003): 317-324.
  • Hwang, S.-L., & Bedford, O. (2003). Precursors and pathways to adolescent prostitution in Taiwan. The Journal of Sex Research, 40(2), 201.
  • Chu, C. S. K., & Laidler, K. J. (2015). Becoming a Male Client of Compensated Dating. Deviant Behavior, 1-19.

 5.Youth Gangs

  • Bucerius, Sandra. (2014). “‘I’m not a Dirty Crack Dealer’: Purity and Impurity in the Drug Market,” in, Bucerius, Sandra.    Unwanted: Muslim Immigrants, Dignity, and Drug Dealing.   Oxford University Press, pp. 120-145.
  • Lo, T. Wing. “Triadization of Youth Gangs in Hong Kong.” British Journal of Criminology52, no. 3 (2012): 556-576.
  • Anderson, Elijah. (1994)  “The Code of the Streets”  The Atlantic, May 1994.  Available at:

6.‘The Originality of the Idealist’ and the ‘Originality of the Criminal’: Youth, Politics, and Social Movements

  • Rowen, Ian. “Inside Taiwan’s Sunflower Movement: Twenty-Four Days in a Student-Occupied Parliament, and the Future of the Region.” The Journal of Asian Studies 74, no. 01 (2015): 5-21.
  • Slater D., O’Day R., Uno S., Kindstrand L., Takano C. SEALDs (Students Emergency Action for Liberal Democracy): Research Note on Contemporary Youth Politics in Japan. The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 13, Issue. 37, No. 1, September 14, 2015
  • Stephan Ortmann (2015), The Umbrella Movement and Hong Kong’s Protracted Democratization Process. Asian Affairs, 46:1, 32-50.

 7.Youth and Terrorism

  • Joosse, Paul. 2012 “Elves, Environmentalism, and ‘Eco-Terror’: Leaderless Resistance and Media Coverage of the Earth Liberation Front.” Crime, Media, Culture1: 75-93.
  • 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.
  • 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.

 8.Youth Justice and Rehabilitation

  • Adorjan, M. and Chui, W.C. (2013) ‘Colonial responses to youth crime in Hong Kong: Penal elitism, legitimacy and citizenship’, Theoretical Criminology 17(2): 159-177.
  • Choi, A. and Lo, T.W. (2004) Fighting Youth Crime: A Comparative Study of Two Little Dragons. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press.

9.Youthful Enthusiasms and Deviant Religions

  • 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.
  • Bromley, David G., Anson D. Shupe, and Joseph C. Ventimiglia. “Atrocity tales, the Unification Church, and the social construction of evil.” Journal of Communication29, no. 3 (1979): 42-53.
  • Cartwright, Robert H., and Stephen A. Kent. “Social Control in Alternative Religions: A Familial Perspective*.” Sociology of Religion53, no. 4 (1992): 345-361.

Recommended reading

Students are advised to keep up-to-date with current criminological research, government statistics on crime and justice, and media coverage of crime issues throughout the course. Listed below are a number of key sources and websites to bookmark and check regularly.



Asian Journal of Criminology

British Journal of Criminology

Children’s Geographies

Crime, Media, Culture

Criminology and Criminal Justice

Journal of Youth Studies


Theoretical Criminology

Youth and Policy

Youth Justice

Course co-ordinator and teachers