Critical Review of a Reading
Word length: 2500 words
Percentage of the module marks: 50%
Deadline: Thursday 13th December 2012
This first assignment should be based on ONE of the ten readings that you have studied for this module:
Shaw, C.R. (1930/ 1966) The Jack Roller: A Delinquent Boy’s Own Story, Chicago, University of Chicago Press (chapter 7 ‘The Lure of the Underworld’) Becker, H.S. (1953) Becoming a Marihuana User, American Journal of Sociology, vol.55, no. 3: 235-242 Sykes, G. and Matza, D. (1957) ‘Techniques of Neutralisation: A Theory of Delinquency’, American Sociological Review, vol. 22, no. 6, p. 664-670 Braithwaite, J. (1989) Crime, shame and Reintegration, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (chapter 4 ‘The Family Model of the Criminal Process: reintegrative shaming) Maruna, S. (2001) Making Good: how ex-convicts reform and rebuild their lives, Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association (Introduction: The Common Criminal and Us (pages 3 – 14) and chapter 1: Defining Desistance) Foucault, M. (1977) Discipline and Punish: the birth of the prison, London: Allen (chapter 1: The Body of the Condemned) Quinney, R. (1991) ‘The way of peace: On Crime, Suffering and Service’ in H.E. Pepinsky and R. Quinney (eds) Criminology and Peacemaking, Indiana University Press Christie, N. (1977) ‘Conflicts as Property’, British Journal of Criminology, Vol. 19 (1) pp. 1 – 15 Feeley, M. and Simon, J. (1992) ‘The new penology: notes on the emerging strategy of corrections and its implications’, Criminology, 30 (4) pp. 452 – 474 Cohen, S. (1985) Visions of Social Control, Polity Press (chapter 1: ‘The Master Patterns)
You should choose ONE of these and attempt to critically overview the text. This entails the following key elements:
1. Summarise the content of the article: this should include an outline of the overall argument and what you see at the key components of the argument. 2. Summarise the strengths of the argument: revisit the audio lecture and consider the wider influence and impact of the argument. 3. Consider what the limits of the argument are: what is the argument about and what possible exceptions to the argument may be. What criticisms have been made of the argument? (track down a couple of textbooks on criminological theory or search for a journal article – try the British Journal of Criminology or Theoretical Criminology for starters). 4. Consider other perspectives: is there a competing theory or argument that suggests a different explanation? Can it be used to critique the reading? 5. Conclude with your overall argument based on the criticisms of the reading you have outlined.
You should approach this assignment like any other written essay and make sure your discussion is backed up with citation from published sources. It is perfectly acceptable to cite the actual reading and to quote from it directly (in a careful and considered fashion). But you should also seek to read around the subject and to draw on one or two journal articles as well as textbooks and wider reading on the topic. I would expect you all to use at least 5 or 6 references in an assignment of this nature (including the reading itself. There is no limit on the type or amount of texts you can use for an assignment of this sort (though do not cite lecture notes, Wikipedia or standard dictionaries) though you should always be mindful of the reliability and bias of the source. The more widely you search and the more innovative the material you can find (though make sure it is relevant to your discussion and the reading) the stronger your argument is likely to be.
Please read carefully the marking schematic I will be using for this module which can be found on eBridge and will be used as the basis for marking this and the other two assignments for this module. I will be talking to you further about this when I meet you all in...