GSSA 1010 - Understanding Criminology

North Terrace Campus - Semester 2 - 2015

This course offers an introduction to the field of criminology by examining the nature of crime as well as exploring the main social theories that seek to explain why people commit crime. While the first part of the course briefly introduces the concept of crime, its social construction and various representations, the second component covers an array of broadly sociological arguments concerning possible explanations as to why crimes are committed, and how certain `deviant? acts become problematised. Topics covered in this latter section include criminological arguments drawing on Classicism, Biological and Psychological Positivism, Sociological Positivism, The Chicago School and Subcultural Theories, Interactionism and Labelling, Social Control Theories, Radical and Critical Perspectives, Realist Approaches, Contemporary Classicism and Feminism. Ultimately the question is posed whether the insights offered into the varied motivations to commit crime are practically useful in its prevention or reduction.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code GSSA 1010
    Course Understanding Criminology
    Coordinating Unit Gender Studies and Social Analysis
    Term Semester 2
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Course Description This course offers an introduction to the field of criminology by examining the nature of crime as well as exploring the main social theories that seek to explain why people commit crime. While the first part of the course briefly introduces the concept of crime, its social construction and various representations, the second component covers an array of broadly sociological arguments concerning possible explanations as to why crimes are committed, and how certain `deviant? acts become problematised. Topics covered in this latter section include criminological arguments drawing on Classicism, Biological and Psychological Positivism, Sociological Positivism, The Chicago School and Subcultural Theories, Interactionism and Labelling, Social Control Theories, Radical and Critical Perspectives, Realist Approaches, Contemporary Classicism and Feminism. Ultimately the question is posed whether the insights offered into the varied motivations to commit crime are practically useful in its prevention or reduction.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Andrew Hope

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course students will be able to:
    1 Understand the conceptualisation and representations of crime.
    2 Analyse the social, political and economic context of criminal activities.
    3 Critically examine the major criminological explanations of crime.
    4 Compare and evaluate explanations of crime.
    5 Use criminological theory to offer explanations for criminal and deviant behaviours.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1-5
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2-5
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 4, 5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 2, 3, 5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 1
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1-5
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 1, 5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 1, 2, 4
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    Textbook:  Newburn, T. (2012) Criminology. Cullompton: Willan.

     Additional readings will supplement the textbook with relevant journal articles and items for discussion each week.  These readings will be available in electronic form via MyUni. 
    Online Learning
    Students will have access to recorded lectures and online discussion boards. 

    All students will receive announcements and assessment tasks via MyUni and it will contain links to the course library page and a list of useful web resources related to the course. 
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Lectures supported by problem-solving seminars developing material covered in lectures.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    2 x 1-hour lectures (or equivalent) per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 1-hour seminar (or equivalent) per week 12 hours per semester
    4 hours reading per week 48 hours per semester
    3 hours research per week 36 hours per semester
    3 hours assignment preparation per week 36 hours per semester
    TOTAL WORKLOAD 156 hours per semester
    Learning Activities Summary


    Lectures

    1

    Crime, Deviance and Criminology


    2

    The Criminological Imagination


    3

    Crime Data


    4

    Media Representations of Crime


    5

    Classical Criminology


    6

    Early Positivism and Criminology


    7

    Biological Positivism


    8

    Psychological Positivism


    9

    Sociological Positivism I: Durkheim and Criminology


    10

    Sociological Positivism II: Merton, Anomie and Strain


    11

    The Chicago School


    12

    Cultures and Subcultures


    13

    Interactionism and Labelling Theories


    14

    Social Control Theories


    15

    Radical and Critical Criminology


    16

    Realist Criminology


    17

    Contemporary Classicism I: Choice and Activity


    18

    Contemporary Classicism II: Situational Crime Prevention


    19

    Feminist Criminology


    20

    Cultural Criminology
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment Task Task Type Weighting Learning Outcome
    Test during seminar Formative 0% 1, 2
    Seminar attendance and participation Formative and Summative 10% 1-5
    2000 word essay Formative and Summative 40% 1, 2, 4, 5
    Take home exam Formative and Summative 50% 2-5
    Assessment Detail
    Seminar attendance and participation (10%): students attend and participate in seminar discussion.

    2000 word essay (40%): theoretical essay focusing upon a newspaper article of a criminal event .

    Take home exam (50%): students will receive an exam paper from which they must complete three essay questions.
    Submission

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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