Year two focuses on how criminologists are grappling with problems of crime and justice emerging in the 21st century. We will develop your understanding of the theoretical and methodological foundations of criminology.
Optional modules are chosen from criminology, sociology and social policy.
Contemporary Theories of Crime, Justice and Society
This module is concerned with how we can make sense of crime, and responses to it, in today’s society. It sets out to look at contemporary theories about crime, justice and society in their historical context. It looks at how ideas have been revised to take account of 21st century realities including globalisation, mass migration, changing gender relations, terrorism, economic and environmental crisis and the rise of risk society.
Research Design and Practice (Qualitative Methods)
This module will introduce you to the principles of research design, practice and ethics in relation to qualitative research, and provides experience in designing a qualitative research project.
Research Design and Practice (Quantitative Methods)
This module will introduce you to the principles of research design and ethics in relation to quantitative research, and provides you with experience in designing and conducting your own small-scale research project.
Crime Stories: Crime, Justice and the Media
What is the relationship between crime, justice and the media? Does media depiction simply reflect public interests and attitudes, or help to shape them? Does media representation of 'crime', 'criminals' and criminal justice impact penal and social policies?
These are some of the questions we will debate through drawing on theory, research and illustrative media examples.
Police, Policing and the Police
This module is concerned with the sociology and politics of policing. The main focus will be on England and Wales but the module will draw on literature and experiences from other jurisdictions around the world and from the United States of America in particular. It will cover a range of topics such as:
- the meaning of, and differences between, police, policing and the police
- the history and development of policing and the police since the 18th century
- the occupational and organisational cultures of the police
- the governance and accountability of the police
- police powers
- specialisation in policing e.g. crime detection, traffic policing, public order policing, terrorism and political policing
- policing strategies and tactics
- policing and the media
- police ethics
- policing social diversity
- the pluralisation of policing
Prisons and Society
This module focuses on the relationship between imprisonment and society, paying specific attention to the England and Wales prison estate and UK society. The module requires reading, questioning, and evaluating of the following topics:
- Notion of a criminally deviant act and consequent ramifications (for example, imprisonment)
- Relationship between welfare provision and imprisonment rates (for example, social exclusion issues)
- The political and historical natures of punishment (for example, overt versus covert practices)
- Prisoner population demographics in England and Wales
- Roles, responsibilities, and issues for Her Majesty’s Prison Service
- Prison culture (both staff and inmate)
- Institutionalisation theory and the nature of imprisonment
- Provision and receipt experiences of prison mental healthcare
- Sociological research in prisons (for example, (in)famous ethnographies/contemporary analysis)
- Future directions for imprisonment (for example, reducing reoffending strategies)
Youth Crime and Justice
This module explores the phenomena of youth, crime and justice. Analysis of official statistics and self-report survey data will be placed within a broader understanding of the social construction of youth, drawing on political, media and other sources. The module will critically assess explanations of youth crime and desistance, including major theoretical explanations and developmental/life course perspectives.
The second half of the module considers social responses to youth crime and the role of the youth justice system in particular. The various discourses which inform youth justice will be compared and the ways in which they have been applied in different jurisdictions will be assessed. Finally, the module will consider the recent focus on early intervention, emerging arguments for minimum intervention and the potential for youth justice reform.
China Beyond the Headlines
This module emphasises sociological theories with reference to current events and social policy making in China. Topics change every year according to what is in the news, but may include:
- nationhood, identity and ethnicity
- gender, family and sexualities
- inequalities, social capital and welfare
- health, education and popular culture
- crime, deviance and justice
Controversy: Experts, Post-Truth and Fake News
This module will examine the role of experts and expertise in modern society. In many cases conflicting information circulates in the media and people do not know who to trust and what to believe. Should we listen to ‘the science’? We are allegedly living in a post-truth society where participants in polarized debates go as far as accusing each other of presenting fake news. Experts are supposed to provide neutral advice but often get drawn into the fray, too.
We will examine selected case studies that allow us to better understand the role of experts in society. Case studies may include climate change; Brexit; legal and illegal drugs; and vacation.
Ethnicity, 'Race' and Everyday Life
This module examines the intersection of three key concepts in contemporary sociology - ethnicity, 'race', and everyday life. It particularly considers:
- existing sociological theories of everyday life concerning its political relevance and historical specificity, as well as methodological issues as to how 'the everyday' has been researched
- sociological models of ethnicity and 'race', the construction of ethnic boundaries and identities, the relationship between 'culture' and 'ethnicity', and its relevance in the contemporary world
- a series of empirical case studies illustrating the experience and complexities of ethnic and racial identities in the realm of everyday life
Social Research and Community Engagement
This module provides you with an opportunity to apply the insights and skills of social science to enhance your understanding of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society with special reference to the city of Nottingham. At the heart of the module is a one-semester community engagement opportunity where you will spend on average eight hours a week, but varying from week to week, with a local community organisation.
The placement enables you to experience at first-hand the challenges, dilemmas and opportunities to make a difference that local organisations face every day. You will have the opportunity to deploy social research skills and academic knowledge to assist the organisations in question.
The teaching element of the module will provide the following:
- At the very start, an overview of the role of the voluntary sector in contemporary society
- Theories of civil society
- An introduction to some of the models of community organising and public sociology
- A two-day training package in the autumn semester on models of community organising delivered by Nottingham Citizens
- An opportunity to reflect on progress with the community engagement
- Advice on how to construct the assessment
The module will also draw on two outside speakers from local community organisations to provide rich, first-hand accounts from within the voluntary sector.
#Sociology: Identity, Self and Other in a Digital Age
We now live in a digital age where new technology, online platforms, applications and wearable devices are an indispensable and, in some ways, an inescapable part of our lives. New digital technologies enable us to track our daily lives and routines, to filter our realities, to present different versions of ourselves, to form attachments and intimacies, engage in politics and protest. From selfie culture, through Tinder love and Twitter revolutions, new digital technologies and social media shape not only our perceptions of Self but also our relations with others.
This module introduces you to the key debates in digital sociology, paying particular attention to the rise of new social media and how this affects identity, belonging, intimacy and civic participation. The main focus of this module is a critical engagement with how Web 2.0 has affected perceptions of self and social relations, exploring why some people engage with new technology whilst others actively resist it.