module specification

SC5051 - Youth, Crime and Violence (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Youth, Crime and Violence
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Synopsis of and commentary on specified text (1500 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   2 hour seen examination
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Wednesday Afternoon

Module summary

Academic authors have shown that for centuries adults have expressed concerns about the anti-social and criminal behaviour of young people. In recent times, this concern has centred on rising levels of violent crime by young people and the burgeoning ‘gang, gun and knife crime culture’ in the UK. In response to public concerns policy makers and practitioners have designed numerous community and criminal justice initiatives to tackle the anti-social behaviour of young people, reduce their offending rates and encourage desistence from criminal activity.

This module critically examines young people’s involvement in crime and violence. It examines key theories for understanding violence by the young and explores the connection between violent behaviour and a variety of social issues such as peer pressure, gender, ‘race’ and ethnicity, and alcohol and substance misuse. This highlights the impact of changing economic, political and cultural contexts from the global to local. The module also explores, and critically examines, media and criminal justice responses to youth crime.

Module aims

The module aims to:

  1. Familiarise students with the theoretical perspectives that have shaped criminological thought on violence by young people
  2. Encourage students to develop a critical overview of young people’s engagement in violent crime
  3. Develop students’ ability to research, analyse and communicate critical and informed arguments relating to the theory, policy and practice underpinning youth involvement in violent crime.


This unit will examine historical and current debates on youth crime and violence. As well as examining theory, public policy and criminal justice responses to violent offending by young people the module will debate at some of the following topics/issues.

  • Youth violence in shifting historical and structural contexts.
  • Subcultures, gangs and collective violence.
  • Youth violence, race and religion.
  • Youth and sexual violence.
  • Drugs, alcohol and youth violence.
  • Violent victimisation.
  • Female violence.
  • Youth violence in the Media.
  • Youth violence, youth justice and punishment.

Learning and teaching

A variety of teaching and learning methods are employed to facilitate the development of subject-specific and transferable skills.  These include lectures, seminars, workshops, visual material and self-directed student learning.  Original staff research is used as the point of departure for a range of debates.  To facilitate the learning process students are provided with a dedicated Blackboard platform upon which study resources are located including relevant publications and hyperlinks to relevant web-based resources.

Students are provided with opportunities to develop reflexive learning through engaging in a range of exploratory and research-based activities; students are given the opportunity to evaluate their own practice in relation to their personal development in seminar contexts.  The module requires approximately 7 hours per week in self-directed research and study, including interaction with other students by e-mail, and writing activity.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the key criminological theories on youth engagement in violent crime.
  2. Apply theoretical concepts of violent crime to social issues.
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of criminal justice responses to youth violence and critically appraise the links between youth violence, media and criminal justice policy.
  4. Express and defend their views on youth crime and violence with peers in seminars and in academic work.

Assessment strategy

The assessment consists of two parts.

The first assessment is a book review. Students are required to choose one from a list of books and produce a critical academic review of approximately 1,500 words. This assessment fulfils all of the learning outcomes listed above, but particularly 1 and 4.

The second item of assessment is a 2 hour unseen examination which tests learning outcomes 1, 2 and 3.  It will do this by requiring students to respond to a question which asks them to ‘outline’, ‘explain’, ‘evaluate’ or ‘appraise’ theoretical concepts relating to crime and violence (learning outcomes 1, 2) using contemporary research and/or policy documentation, where appropriate, media sources (3)


• Barter. C and Berridge, D (eds.) (2010) Children Behaving Badly? Peer Violence between Children and Young People. Wiley-Blackwell.
• Collins, R. (2008) Violence. A Micro-Sociological Theory.  Princeton University Press.
• Ferrell, J., Hayward, K., Morrison, W. and Presdee, M. (2004) Cultural Criminology Unleashed. London: Glass House
• France, A. (2007) Understanding Youth in Late Modernity. Buckingham: Open University Press.
• Goldson, B. and Muncie, J. (eds.) (2009) Youth Crime and Justice. Sage Publication Ltd.
• Hayden, C. (2007) Children in Trouble: The Role of Families, Schools and Communities. Palgrave Macmillan.
• Maguire, M., Morgan, R., & Reiner, R. (2012) The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (5th eds) Oxford University Press.
• Muncie, J. (2009) Youth & Crime. 3rd Edition. Sage Publications Ltd.
• Ray, L. (2011) Violence and Society. London: Sage Publications
• Hall, S. (2012) Theorising Crime and Deviance: A New Perspective. London: Sage Publications