Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2019-2020 (archived)

Module SOCI43830: Young People, Crime and Justice

Department: Sociology

SOCI43830: Young People, Crime and Justice

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2019/20 Module Cap None.


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To provide students with:
  • criminological, sociological, policy and practice level understandings of young people, crime and justice.
  • a critical understanding of theoretical perspectives that explain young people’s development and offending.
  • a critical understanding of young people’s involvement in crime and deviance, including transgressive leisure and the criminalisation of young people’s behaviours and spaces.
  • a critical understanding of young people’s subcultures, marginalisation and transgressive leisure engagements.
  • knowledge of the intersectional nature of young people and crime, with particular reference to relationships between class, race and gender.
  • insight into the youth justice system.


  • Criminological and sociological theories of young people’s development and offending.
  • Social policy focusing on young people and practice with young people, with particular focus on youth justice.
  • Exploration of young people’s: cultures and subcultures; engagement in transgressive leisure activities; crime, deviance and marginalisation.
  • Trends, explanations and practices relating to young people, crime and deviance.
  • Youth futures – young people’s rights and citizenship.
  • Young people, gender, race, class and intersections with criminality and justice.
  • The youth justice system.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module students will:
  • to able to critically engage with different theoretical perspectives to explain young people’s development, crime and deviance;
  • understand the workings of the youth justice system and critical challenges within it;
  • have a critical understanding of young people’s cultures, subcultures, marginalisation and transgressive leisure engagements;
  • critically evaluate social science arguments and evidence;
  • critically analyse policy and practice responses.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module students will be able to:
  • Reflect upon the policy and practice consequences of the research introduced in the module, and critically engage with sociological and social scientific research on children, young people and families to analyse its impact on existing policy and practice responses;
  • Demonstrate a critical understanding of the relationship between social scientific evidence, theories, social policy and practice, in relation to young people and youth justice;
  • Demonstrate orally and in writing the ability to articulate complex concepts and policy responses to young people’s offending;
  • Critique the youth justice system and propose responses to key issues.
Key Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students should be able to demonstrate:
  • an ability to gather and process appropriate information from a range of academic sources;
  • ability to plan workload and manage time;
  • ability to work constructively as part of a small group;
  • ability to construct systematic, coherent and conceptually correct oral and written arguments; and develop these through to working proposals for addressing key youth justice issues;
  • demonstrate a range of communication skills including the ability to: construct informed questions; evaluate and synthesise information obtained from a variety of sources; construct coherent written arguments; and communicate relevant information visually, orally and in writing.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures: introduce the main issues to be considered. They encourage students to develop skills in listening and selective note-taking. The module will be team taught and thus introduce students to a number of different lecturers, which will help students gain an appreciation of the different ways in which material can be organised and presented.
  • Seminars: provide an opportunity for students to discuss module themes in a small group setting. Students will be supported in identifying and understanding abstract theoretical concepts, and will be encouraged to apply these abstract theoretical concepts to specific topics, issues and debates. Seminars help develop a number of transferable skills, such as oral communication, group work, the ability to evaluate evidence and make reasoned arguments, as well as the subject-specific skills mentioned above. In-class exercises and discussion also provide students with feedback on their understanding and progress at regular points during the academic year. Michaelmas term seminars will be topic focused. Epiphany term seminars will be task and assessment focused.
  • Self-directed study: constitutes an important mode of learning on the module. It develops many of the subject-specific and key skills indicated above (e.g. the ability to undertake and present work in a scholarly manner, the ability to improve one’s own learning and performance, etc.).
  • Summative assessment:
  • A summative presentation: during Epiphany term seminars, students will develop a policy response to a key issue relating to young people, crime and justice which they will present to the group. This will then form the basis of their individual summative report (below).
  • A summative report will enable students to demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between social scientific knowledge, critical theoretical perspectives, social policy and practice by focusing on a key issue or example. This also provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate key communication and presentation skills.
  • Formative Assessment:
  • An optional formative essay: requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of module topics and prepares students for the summative assignment. It will develop key communication and library skills, as well as subject-specific skills relating to policy analysis and the critical assessment of evidence. The formative assessment is a foundation for the summative assessment. Individual written feedback will enable students to improve their future performance in the module by identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas to improve.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly 1 Hour 20
Seminars 11 Fortnightly 2 Hours 22
Preparation and Reading 258
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Independent Report Component Weighting: 60%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Independent Report 4000 100%
Component: Group Presentation Component Weighting: 40%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Individual Presentation 10 minutes 100%

Formative Assessment:

One optional formative essay (1000 words).

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University