What you will study
The module is organised around three strands: ‘causes of crime’, ‘responses to crime’, and ‘thinking beyond crime and criminal justice’. You'll be introduced to questions such as ‘What is crime? Who is a victim? What is criminal justice? Who defines crime? Why do certain behaviours come to be defined as ‘criminal’? What are the limitations of criminology for explaining things that are unjust or harmful? What other ways are there of thinking about crime and criminal justice?
Block 1 gives you a brief overview of these questions in criminology and you'll begin to think about some of these at a very basic level through a film about sex workers and a film about imprisonment.
Block 2 begins with some examples of the causes of crime and criminal justice responses. You'll be introduced to the main theories and concepts surrounding the causes of crime and explore the primary role of criminal justice.
Block 3 starts with the primary question why are some actions and behaviours considered to be criminal, when other harmful actions are not deemed to be criminal. You'll look at who defines crime and how is it enforced. In this block you'll also consider the role of the victim in criminal justice systems and explore the key issues surrounding their inclusion and exclusion. Other aspects of criminal justice such as ‘community justice’ and ‘policing’ are also explored.
Block 4 considers the limitations of criminology for thinking about other harmful actions that fall outside the gaze of crime policy and practice. Here you'll explore physical harm and injury caused by ‘structural violence’ and you'll also be introduced to the notion of ‘invisible crimes’ and ‘invisible victims of crime’.
This module will build on the knowledge and skills you have gained at OU level 1 study and will further develop your skills.
It reflects The Open University’s commitment to developing modules that span and integrate a range of learning outcomes across the areas of knowledge and understanding, cognitive (analytical) skills, key skills of communication and information literacy and lifelong learning, and practical and professional skills. The development of these skills is embedded within every stage of the module and you will be supported in progressively developing these.
This module is relevant to a wide range of jobs in the public, voluntary, community and commercial sectors. The areas and themes the module looks at are directly relevant to a variety of jobs in public administration, social welfare services, criminal justice services, community support services amongst others. The analytical and key skills you will develop are relevant to any job context. Amongst the ‘transferable’ skills you will develop are: the ability to identify, gather, analyse and assess evidence; present reasoned and coherent arguments; write clearly in a range of styles such as essays for an academic audience and briefing paper for a non-academic audience; group work; apply learning to non-module provided examples and situations; and plan and reflect on your own work and learning.