module specification

SS7170 - Explaining Violence (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Explaining Violence
Module level Masters (07)
Credit rating for module 20
School School of Social Sciences
Total study hours 200
164 hours Guided independent study
36 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Essay, 2,500 words
Coursework 50%   Essay, 2,500 words
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Autumn semester North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module will allow students to investigate the complex issue of violence through a multidisciplinary approach. It will consider the psychological, biological and social causes through criminological theory to explain specific types of violence. It includes topics such as murder, rape, assault, terrorism, violence within the family and culturally specific violence.

The module will be structured to identify the key patterns and trends in violent behaviour and specifically how such violence applies to communities in the UK. Theories of violence and aggression will then be used to assess crime trends and behaviour. These will then be tied to the wider criminological field and possible prevention strategies will be considered.

Module aims

The module aims to enable students to:

  • Explore the prevalence of and trends in violence in the UK and globally
  • Identify and assess violent crimes specific to particular communities
  • Use various theories within the field of criminology to explain and understand violent behaviour


1. Explaining violence
2. Verbal and Psychological Abuse
3. Assault & Murder
4. Violence in the home
5. Rape & Sexual Assault
6. Gang Violence
7. Cultural Violence
8. Honour Killings
9. Terrorism
10. State Violence & Torture
11. Conclusions

Learning and teaching

Each week, this module will be delivered through three hour workshops featuring lecturing, students presentations and seminar discussion.

Learning outcomes

At the end of this module, students should be able to:

  1. Explain some of the root causes of many types of violence and aggression.
  2. Evaluate the multiple theories of aggression in relation to specific cultural communities.
  3. Use reflection and analysis to explain and evaluate violent behaviour
  4. Utilise relevant research findings in the analysis of variations in violent crime
  5. Explain and analyse prevention strategies and their link with theories related to violence and aggression.

Assessment strategy

Assessment consists of two 2,500 word essays, which will be representative of the module syllabus. Both pieces of assessment are worth 50% of the total marks. The assessment is predicated upon thorough academic analysis, and appropriate student reading and research


Cramer, C. (2011). Unemployment and participation in violence.

De la Calle, L., and I. Sánchez-Cuenca. 2011. “What We Talk About When We Talk About Terrorism.” Politics & Society 39:3, pp.451-72.

Engel, R. S., Tillyer, M. S., & Corsaro, N. (2013). Reducing gang violence using focused deterrence: Evaluating the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). Justice Quarterly, 30(3), 403-439.

Gerlach, C., & Werth, N. (2009). State violence–violent societies. Beyond Totalitarianism: Stalinism and Nazism Compared, 133-79.

Lefkowitz, M. M., Eron, L. D., & Walder, L. O. (2013). Growing up to be violent: A longitudinal study of the development of aggression (Vol. 66). Elsevier.

Punch, M. (2012). State violence, collusion and the troubles.

Sedem, M., & Ferrer-Wreder, L. (2015, April). Fear of the Loss of Honor: Implications of Honor-based Violence for the Development of Youth and their Families. In Child & Youth Care Forum (Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 225-237). Springer US.

Wallace, P. H., & Roberson, C. (2016). Family violence: Legal, medical, and social perspectives. Routledge.

Walsh, J. A., & Krienert, J. L. (2009). A Decade of Child-Initiated Family Violence: Comparative Analysis of Child—Parent Violence and Parricide Examining Offender, Victim, and Event Characteristics in a National Sample of Reported Incidents, 1995-2005. Journal of interpersonal violence, 24(9), 1450-1477.