- Broadening minor
- Minor code
- 10 weeks
Crime might seem like an easy concept to grasp (e.g. murder, theft), but many phenomena are in the twilight zone between the legal and the illegal (e.g. ecological damage). Some harmless acts are criminalized, other acts are ‘awful but lawful’. This broadening minor introduces students to different perspectives on crime, criminalization and victimization. The course offers tools for a critical understanding of a diverse range of crimes, their causes, and their offenders and victims. In addition to understanding crime, the minor explores a variety of approaches to respond to crime, ranging from criminal law to social prevention. Students will be introduced to the core concepts, theories and methods of criminology, to the basics of crime control and prevention and to current issues in the field of crime and justice.
Contemporary developments in criminology, crime and justice run as a thread through this minor. We pay attention to how crime, subversion and approaches to it relate to inequality and sustainability. Given that many developments in contemporary crime are inherently global, we pay attention to the role of globalization, while not losing track of local particularities in crime (policy). Think for instance of topics such as organized drugs trade in the Port of Rotterdam, cybercrime, radicalization and deforestation.
Students will learn about different perspectives to crime, criminalization and victimization. The dominant perspective in this broadening minor is a sociological and critical approach to the study of crime, by paying attention to power dimensions that are inherent to criminalization and by paying attention to unintended social consequences of crime control policies.
Upon completion of this course, you are able to:
- Explain and apply core concepts in criminology
- Describe research methods and data sources in criminology and assess their strengths and weaknesses
- Describe the key criminological theories and assess their strengths and weaknesses.
- Assess the implications of different perspectives on crime for crime prevention and control
- Apply the key criminological theories to specific criminological phenomena and current issues
- Describe and compare different approaches to and strategies of crime control and prevention
- Express and debate one's own understanding of behaviour in the twilight zone between the legal and illegal with one's peers
- Collaborate with one's peers about real-life cases of behaviour in the twilight zone between the legal and the illegal
Classes are expected to be on Tuesdays (4 hours) and Thursdays (4 hours), but that is subject to change depending on available lecture rooms. The definitive schedule will be available in July 2021.
The duration of the course is 10 weeks, including the final exam; there will be no education free week.
Students are required to have sufficient command of the English language because all lectures, readings and assessment (written assignments, oral presentation and written exams) are in English.
Overview content per week
Week 1 Introduction to the course
Understanding crime and criminology
Week 2 Perspectives on criminalization & victimization
Criminological methodology, crime trends and crime data
Week 3 Foundations of criminology: biology and choice
Socio-psychological theories: age, cognition, life-course, including guest lecture
Walking tour in Rotterdam Zuid
Week 4 Early sociological theories: strain, (sub)culture, control and the city
Radicalizing theories: labelling, conflict and social change
Blog post due
Week 5 Punishment and the criminal justice system
Prevention and alternative approaches
Week 6 Globalization, irregular migration and labour exploitation, including guest lecture
Week 7 Radicalization and terrorism, Multiculturalism and crime, including guest lecture
Cybercrime and the dark web, including guest lecture
Week 8 Corporate and state crime, including guest lecture
Organised crime, including guest lecture
Week 9 Group presentations & exam Q&A
Group project paper due
Week 10 Final exam
The readings for this course:
- Carrabine, E., Cox, A., Cox, P., et al. (2020). Criminology. A sociological introduction. Fourth edition. London: Routledge.
- Journal articles and media sources to be distributed on Canvas.
We advise you to buy your own copy of this book because we will use most of the chapters. Please make sure to buy this 4th edition (2020) because there are significant changes compared to earlier versions.
All journal articles, videos, media sources, and Powerpoint presentations will be made available for download on Canvas.
Method of examination
The assessment is a combination of:
- A blog post on a key reading in criminology. Students choose a key reading from a provided list to write their blog about and are required to comment on other blogs as well.
- A group project (4-5 students) about a criminological phenomenon that is in the twilight zone between legal and illegal. Topics are chosen from a provided list. Groups gather arguments for and against criminalization based on academic and non-academic sources. In week 9, each group organizes a plenary discussion in class.
- A final exam consisting of open essay questions (covering all parts of the course).
- Participation (optional): students provide input for class discussions by connecting mandatory readings to news items.
Composition final grade
Blog assignment (individual): 20 percent
Group project (group): 20 percent
Final exam (individual): 50 percent
Participation (individual, optional): 10 percent
For passing the minor it is not required that all parts are assessed as sufficient, as long as students have submitted all individual and group assignments (except participation). Assessment matrix will be provided in course guide later.
Rubrics will be used to grade the assignments.
Students receive written instructor feedback on all written assignments based on rubrics. A collective feedback moment for the final exam is organized within 10 days after the final grades have been announced. Students also receive peer feedback on their blog through blog comments and on their group presentation. Each student is expected to evaluate the group dynamics within their group project once the final paper has been submitted and presented.