module specification

SC6004 - Social Control, Drugs and Organised Crime (2024/25)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2024/25
Module title Social Control, Drugs and Organised Crime
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay: 3,500 words
Seen Examination 50%   2.5 hours seen exam
Running in 2024/25

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module aims to exploit specialism’s residing within the criminology team in London met so that students can apply theories to exciting and relevant areas of criminology


The module aims to:

  1. Introduce students to theories and debates on the nature of crime control in the modern state
  2. Provide an overview of the major traditions of thinking within Criminology regarding the issue of illegal drugs their use and distribution
  3. Examine the way the attempts to control crime and deviance are examples of broader debates over social control
  4. Sensitise students to the ethical and social consequences that flow from the way in which contemporary society elects to punish offenders and prevent crime

Prior learning requirements



This module is both two halves and a whole. First students are taken through 15 weeks of the module examining a range of contemporary thinkers and debates in late modern societies (LO1), addressing issues such as the rise of a new punitiveness, the criminalisation of social policy, the state of exception and the rise of a security society and state (LO2). This section of the module problematises the self-image of the contemporary state as a state committed to Enlightenment aims (LO3).

The second half of the module, focuses on these issues in practice through control of various deviant and criminal pursuits. From here British Drug Policy is engaged with before issues surrounding the sale and use illegal drugs are considered (LO4). The module then moves from drug use to organized crime. This begins with definitional matters before some sociological understandings of the concept and a history of understandings of organized crime. Next follow case studies on particular groups of organized criminal group involved in the supply and importation of illegal drugs. In this module we also discuss responses to terrorism, sexual deviancy and social media use.(LO5)

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

A variety of teaching and learning methods are employed to facilitate the development of subject-specific and transferable skills.  These include lectures, seminars, workshops and self-directed student learning.  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.


Students are expected to spend approximately 7 hours per week in independent research and writing.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:


1. Understand the social construction of crime and deviance, with particular reference to drugs and organized crime

2. Specify the normative implications that follow from the way in which society punishes offenders and controls crime 

3.  Assess critically recent developments in penal policy in relation to the contemporary state in western societies, focussing on theoretical paradigms which posit the emergence of a security state and a ‘new punitiveness’, and so demonstrate mastery of a broad body of knowledge.

4. Understand the nature and extent of a number of criminal and deviant practices in the United kingdom, including drug use and organised crime

5. Critically evaluate the harms caused by crime and how they can be measured.


General reading theories of social control


Garland, D. (2001) The Culture of Control: crime and social order in contemporary society, Oxford: Clarendon.


Garland, D. (1991) Punishment and Modern Society: a study in social theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press


Lea, J. (2002) Crime and Modernity. London: Sage


Simon, J. (2007) Governing through Crime: how the war on crime transformed American Democracy and created a culture of fear, Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press


Stevens, A. (2011) Drugs, Crime and Public Health. Abingdon: Routledge.


Wacquant, L. J. D. (2009) Punishing the Poor: the neoliberal government of social insecurity, Durham [NC]: Duke University Press.


Wincup, E. (2013) Understanding Crime and Social Policy, Bristol: The Policy Press