Law, Society and Crime

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSLGC2LP2014

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester (Winter Semester 2019)

Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Javed Iqbal Wani

Email of course coordinator: javed[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in

Pre-requisites: None

Aim: Rise in crime rate is often referred to by various institutions be it the Police, the Courts, the judiciary, the civil society and even the media. However, there is no dedicated study that deals with a sociological study of such issues.

Regardless of our own status as victims, offenders, practitioners or observers, issues of crime and theories about crime pervade our lives on a day-to-day level. Television, newspapers, the internet, conversations with friends, families and colleagues all play their part in constructing discourse about crime. Throughout our lives we develop differing levels of conformity and convention in relation to issues of crime and we develop various understandings and assumptions about how crime is the same or different from harms.

This introductory course in Law, Society and Crime, will introduce students to the complex factors that contribute to criminal behaviour and to the range of strategies for addressing crime. It is ideal for students who wish to explore the range of issues and the key debates raised by crime and the criminal justice system. The course will help students make sense of current trends and patterns in crime control and criminal justice, introduce them to contemporary psychological approaches to, sociological theories of, criminal behaviour, and explain how the criminal justice process works, including the roles and responsibilities of the various agencies and institutions involved.

Course Outcomes:

After the successful competition of this course the students should;

  1. be able to demonstrate a comprehension of various approaches to the study of crime.
  2. Be able to explain the difference between crime prevention and preventionism.
  3. Be able to delineate the entanglement of discussions around risk, security, and governance.
  4. Gain a critical perspective on crime science.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Understanding Crime

This module will discuss the broader field of criminology, its emergence and its relevance in the contemporary world.

Module 2: Sociology of Crime

This module aims at providing a foundational understanding as to why it is important to have a sociological imagination while studying crime and criminal behaviour.

Module 3: The Criminal Justice Process

This module offers an overview of various attitudes and concerns inherent in the criminal justice process while it responds to the challenge of crime and criminal behaviour.

Module 4: Cultures and Subcultures of Crime.

This module looks at the practices of government when it comes to dealing with crime and criminals. It will focus on the aspects of risk and security and will evaluate its relevance to governance. It will look at the nature as well as certain practices that exist within criminal organizations. It will also highlight how certain lifestyles aim at offering resistance to conformity result in being interpreted as violent, deviant or criminal.

Reading List:

Week 1

The Nature of Criminology

  1. The Contexts of Criminology: A brief restatement. (Kalpana Kannabiran, Chapter 18)
  2. A Brief History of Criminology, Ben Bowling 2006.
  3. Criminology: a sociological introduction, Carrabine, Eamonn 2009 (chapter 7)
  4. Criminology, Social Theory and the challenge of our times, D. Garland, R. Sparks, 2000

Additional readings:

  1. International criminology: a critical introduction, Watts, Rob, Bessant, Judith Hill, Richard 2008 (Chapter 2 &3)
  2. The Oxford Handbook of Criminology Maguire, Mike, Rod, Reiner, Robert, 1994 (chapter 1 by David Garland)

Week 2

Classicism and Justice

  1. Controlling Crime: The classical perspective in criminology- Roshier, Bob, 1989
  2. Cesare Beccaria: The Genius of “On crime and punishments”- Hostettler, John 2010

Additional readings:

  1. Two hundred and fifty years since the publication of crimes and punishments: The currency of Cesare Beccaria’s thought- L. Ferrajoli (2014 article)

Week 3

Crime prevention

  1. Crime Prevention : theory, policy and politics- Gilling, Daniel, 1997 (chapter 2&3)
  2. The oxford Handbook of criminology- Mike Maguire, Rodney Morgan, Robert Reiner, 2012 (chapter 26 by Crawford and Evans)

Additional Reading:

  1. Understanding crime prevention: social control, risk and late modernity- Hughes Gordon, 1998

Week 4

  1. Beyond Justice, beyond deterrence
  2. On Punitiveness (irrationality)
  3. The return of the wheel barrow Men; or, the arrival of postmodern penalty?- J. Pratt, 2000
  4. Penal Populism: key ideas in criminology – J. Pratt 2007 (chapter 1 &2)
  5. Criminological perspectives- MacLaughlin Eugene 2013 (chapter 43 by Feeley and Simon)
  6. The futures of criminology- David Nelken 1994 (chapter 8 by Feeley and Simon)

Additional readings:

  1. Public Secrets of Law: Rape trials in India, Pratixa Baxi, 2013.
  2. Marital Rape and the Indian Legal Scenario, Priyanka Rath, Indian Law Journal.
  3. Khosla Madhav, Inclusive constitutionalism comparison: Reflections of India’s Sodomy decision, The American Journal of Comparative law.
  4. Crime, risk and Justice: the politics of crime control in liberal democracies- Kevin Stenson, Robert r. Sullivan, 2001 ( chapter 1 & chapter 7 by Simon and entitlement to cruelty)
  5. Against prediction: profiling, policing and punishing in an actuarial age- Harcourt Barnard E., 1963
  6. The illusion of free markets: punishment and the myth of natural order- Harcourt Bernard E., 2011
  7. Vertigo and vindictiveness: some notes on the political economy of Punishment. 2008.
  8. Pre-crime and pre-punishment: a health warning- Lucida Zedner, 2010

On Risk (rationality)

  1. Preventive justice- Andrew Ashworth, lucia Zedner, 2014
  2. Risk Control, Rights and Legitimacy in the Limited liability State- John Pratt, 2016.
  3. Pre-crime and post-criminology?- L.Zedner, 2007

Additional readings:

  1. Justice and Security in the 21st century: risks, rights and the rule of law, 2013
  2. Crime, Risk and Justice: the politics of crime control in liberal democracies- Kevion Stensopn, Robert R. Sullivan
  3. The Sage Handbook of punishment and Society- Jonathan Simon, Richard Sparks 2013 (see chapter 6 by Hannah-Moffat, Punishment and Risk)
  4. Rule of law in Free society, Madhav Menon, 2007.

Week 5

Governance, Risk and Security

  1. State Democracy and anti-terror laws in India, Ujjwal Singh.
  2. Government and Control- N. Rose, 2000
  3. The Sage Handbook of criminological theory- (chapter 17 by Pat O’Malley ‘Governmental criminology’)
  4. Policing before and after the police: The historical antecedents of contemporary crime control- L. Zedner 2005
  5. Social police and the mechanisms of prevention- M. Neocleous, 2000.

Additional readings:

  1. The Wages of Impunity, Power, Justice and human rights, K.G. Kannabiran, 2005
  2. Governing through crime: how the war on crime transformed American democracy and created a culture of fear- Simon Jonathan, 2006
  3. Fighting crime together: the challenges of policing and security networks- Fleming, jenny, wood, Jennifer Dawn, 2008 (read chapter by Wood ‘Dark Networks, Bright Networks and the Place of the Police.)
  4. Imagining security- Wood, Jennifer, Shaearing, Clifford D., 2007.from the Panopticon to Disney World: The development of Discipline- Shearing.c., Stenning P. (1985)

Week 6

Scientific responses to crime

  1. The criminal brain: understanding biological theories of crime- Nicole Hahn Rafter, Chad Posick, Michael Rocque, 2016.
  2. Criminal Man-Lombroso, Cesare, Gibson, Mary, Rafter, Nicole Hahn, 2006

Additional readings:

  1. The criminal body: Lombroso and the anatomy of deviance- Horn, David 2003
  2. Creating born criminals- Rafter, Nicole Hahn, 1997.

Week 7 & Week 8

Crime Science

  1. Crime science: new approaches to preventing and detecting crime- Smith, Melissa J., Tilley, Nick, 2005 (chapter by G. Laycock)
  2. Crime science- Ken Pease 2004

Additional readings:

  1. Selvi Vs State of Karnataka (discusses the use of Narco analysis for determining guilt)
  2. Crime, science and evaluation- Gloria Laycock, 2005
  3. Technology, crime and crime science- Ronald V. Clark 2002
  4. Experimental criminology: prospects for advancing science and public policy, 2013
  5. The Role of DNA in Criminal Investigation, admissibility in Indian Legal system & future perspectives (Patel, Gautaman, Jangid), International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention.

Criticisms of Crime Science

  1. What is criminology?- Bosworth Mary 2011 (read chapter 30 by Tim Hope)
  2. The novelty of crime science, 2007

Additional readings:

  1. Book review: Crime Science: New approaches to preventing crime and detecting crime- Tim Hope 2006

Week 9

  1. Anomie, Social Disorganisation and Strain: Past & Present
  2. Understanding deviance: a guide to the sociology of crime and rule-breaking- Downes David, M. Rock, Paul Elliot 2011
  3. The Chicago school diaspora: epistemology and substance- Gary Bowden, Jacqueline Low, 2014

Additional readings:

  1. Urban outcasts: a comparative sociology of advanced marginality- Loic Wacquant 2008.

Week 10, 11 & 12

Sub cultures & Post Subcultures


  1. Subcultures: cultural histories and social practice- Ken Gelder, 2007
  2. Resistance through rituals: youth subcultures in post-war Britain- Stuart Hall, tony Jefferson, 2006
  3. The delinquent solution: a study in subcultural theory- David Downes, 1966

Additonal readings:

  1. The gang: a study of 1,313 gangs in Chicago- Thrasher, Frederic Milton, Knox, George W, 2000
  2. Delinquent boys: the culture of the gang- Cohen, Albert Kircidel, 1955
  3. The subcultures reader- Ken Gelder, 2005


  1. The post-subcultural turn: some reflections 10 years on- Andy Benett, 2011
  2. Youth subcultural theory: A critical engagement with the concept, its origin and politics from the Chicago school to postmodernism- Shane Blackman, 2005

Additional readings:

  1. Structure, Agency, subculture: The CCCS, Resistance Thorugh rituals, and ‘Post-subcultural’ studies- Paul Sweetman- 2013.
  2. Violent night: urban leisure and contemporary culture- Simon Winlow, Steve Hall- 2006
  3. The post-subcultures reader- David Muggleton, Weinzierl, Rupert, 2003

Assessment Details:

Short reaction paper


Mid semester exam


Term paper


End semester exam


Class participation




Provided above with each module.