CRI-30045 - Popular Culture and Crime
Coordinator: Tony Kearon Room: CBB1.031 Tel: +44 1782 7 34382
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 6
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This module examines our apparent interest in crime, criminals and deviance and attempts to locate this interest in its broader social and psycho-social context. As a significant element of this, the module looks at our rapidly changing and increasingly unpredictable age. It will locate this in Modernity - its emergence, its characteristics and how it is changing, and considers how (and why) crime, criminals and representations of crime in popular culture have formed a key component of how we make sense of the world around us in Modernity. It also examines the extent to which popular cultural representations of crime, and the popular cultural practices of some sections of society, have themselves been linked to crime and criminality. Late modernity has seen the rise of law and order as an electoral issue and an increasing perception that our society is crime prone and dangerous. It has also seen the proliferation and (re)emergence of significant interest in larger than life threats to the order of our everyday lives - from environmental catastrophes; alien invasions; vampires, zombies, wizards and other supernatural threats; to the cunning and organised serial killer who lives among us. There has been a significant increase in the number of films and television programming devoted to crime related issues and themes, increased interest in police procedure, forensic science, criminal psychology and related areas, and rapidly increasing demand for criminology as an undergraduate subject. This module considers what our apparent preoccupation with crime and criminality can tell us about ourselves, our fears and anxieties (and how we try to manage them) and about the nature of identity formation and maintenance in late modernity.

To familiarise the student with the complex relationship between cultural and criminal practices.
To examine examples of cultural representations of crime and criminality.
To examine examples of the criminalisation of cultural practices.
To encourage an appreciation of the ways in which perspectives drawn from Cultural and Social theory can develop and augment more traditional examinations of crime and deviance in their social context.
To offer an understanding of the different theoretical debates which inform the examination of the relationship between cultural representations of crime and wider social practices and concerns.

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

demonstrate a systematic understanding and application of key aspects of cultural and social theory (including theories at the forefront of the discipline) which can be applied to criminal practices, crime texts and social attitudes to crime: 1
demonstrate an awareness of the uncertainties and ambiguities of knowledge and adapt existing social and cultural theories to the analysis of new or non-standard forms of social and cultural practice: 1
demonstrate a critical understanding of possible relationships and interactions between cultural representations of crime and wider social concerns and practices: 1
accurately deploy established techniques of cultural and social enquiry and analysis to a range of crime texts and manifestations of crime related and criminalised practices: 1

Study hours

10 x 2-hour sessions will be organised around a mixture of formal interactive lectures, group discussion and activities and various forms of textual viewing, analysis and discussion.
10 x 2 hours of session specific online asynchronous preparation in advance of each session.
110 hours of personal study (including work and planning for assessment)

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Case Study weighted 100%
Case study - 3000 words
A 3000 word essay case study. The study is designed to allow students to critically analyse a range of concepts, theories and arguments covered in the module and apply them to 'real world' examples of societal responses to crime, deviance and related issues. The topic of the case study can be drawn from a list of questions/topics/issues provided by the module leader at the start of the semester, OR the student can produce and submit a case study on a topic that they have formulated and agreed in consultation with the module leader, and submitted a formative plan to the module leader for discussion and feedback earlier in the semester. The case study should be written in an appropriate academic style and be supported with academic references and evidence, correctly cited and referenced. The work requires a bibliography of references and sources. It can also include (where appropriate) illustrations, images, screenshots and/or links to video content and other sources used to support and illustrate arguments and analysis relating to the topic of the case study.