I want to...

Theoretical criminology

Offer semester
1st semester

Lecture time
Thursday 18:30 – 21:20

Lecture venue

Course description

Beginning with an appreciation of the classicist approaches to thinking about crime, social disorder, surveillance and punishment by sociologists and criminologists from the nineteenth centuries, though much of their work has been criticized and subsequently modified, these early thoughts provide very useful road maps into contemporary debates about crime, social problems and problem populations, and what’s to be done about them.

We will then look at more recent accounts of crime that came into prominence during the latter part of the twentieth century in the USA, UK, and in Asia, and assess the limits and possibilities of criminological theorizing in the current global and local contexts. Many of these numerous and diverse approaches to crime and crime control can be seen as a response to earlier theories – challenging them, debating them, extending them, or even a resurrection of part of them.

Finally, the course will encourage students to see the relevance of criminological perspectives to their field research and prepare them for their dissertations.

Course learning outcomes

  • An ability to understand main criminological concepts and debates about crime and social problems and associated key works.
  • An ability to critically assess the diverse and competing assumptions and rationales in the study of crime and social problems.
  • An ability to identify key theoretical debates and implications surrounding the application of ideas about crime and criminality to contemporary crime control policies in the local and global context.
  • An ability to develop a reasoned argument and to present ideas in a clear and concise manner in oral presentation and in written work.


Two Individual essay of 2000 words of 25% each50%
Research dissertation proposal presentation10%

Required reading

Bernard; , Snipes, J. and Gerould, A. (2016), Vold’s Theoretical Criminology (7th edition). London: Oxford University Press.

McLaughlin, E. et al. (eds.) (2013), Criminological Perspectives: Essential Readings. London: SAGE Publications.

McLaughlin, E. and Muncie, J. (2013), The SAGE Dictionary of Criminology (3rd edition). London: SAGE Publications.

Posick, C. and Rocque, M. (2019), Great Debates in Criminology. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Recommended reading

Hall, S. and Winlow, S. (2012), New Directions in Criminological Theory, London: Routledge.

McLaughlin, E. and Newburn, T. (eds.) (2010), The SAGE Handbook of Criminology Theory. London: SAGE Publications.

Bosworth, M. and Hoyle, C. (eds.) (2011), What is Criminology? Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Liebling, A.; Maruna, S. and McAra, L. (eds.) (2017), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (6th edition). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Newburn, T. (2017), Criminology (3rd edition), New York: Routledge.

Newburn, T. (ed.) (2009), Key Readings in Criminology, New York: Willan Publishing.

Siegel, Larry (2018), Criminology: Theories, Patterns, and Typologies (13th edition). Boston: Cengage Learning.

Course co-ordinator and teachers

Office opening hours adjustment