The unit introduces students to an array of explanations for crime that form the basis of criminological theory, placing these in their historical and political context. The unit explores: the changing nature of what we understand as crime; traditional and mainstream explanations for why people commit crime; the emergence of academic challenges to mainstream explanations of criminality; victims and victimology; inequality and social difference; and crime and the media. In addition, the unit explores the way in which information and statistics on crime are collected. Students will be encouraged to understand the connection between criminological approaches and practical responses to crime.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Describe key criminological approaches and their historical and political roots;  
  2. Differentiate between conservative, mainstream and radical theories in criminology and relate them to the way in which changing social, political and economic contexts affects the way certain crimes are defined;  
  3. Collaborate in small groups to communicate and interpret criminological knowledge in written and oral formats;  
  4. Demonstrate effective library-based research skills to develop a sound understanding of the criminological literature;  
  5. Apply effective academic writing skills in critical analysis of a key criminological issue.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test MC Quiz (2) 20%
Essay An individual written 1,500 word essay. 40%
Presentation A group presentation on a selected topic 40%

Required reading

Crime, Criminality and Criminal Justice, 2nd
Rob White and Santina Perrone (2016)
OUP Aust

This textbook is shared with LCR1002 Policing and Offending. Further required and recommended readings will be made available online via the unit's VU Collaborate site.

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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