CRIME AND SOCIETY FROM THE MIDDLE AGES TO TODAY. Crime and punishment are two universal human experiences, found in one form or another in all of recorded history. However the form they take and the way they are conceived changes dramatically over time. The way we think of concepts such as crime and punishment is radically different from the way our ancestors conceived of them several hundred years ago. On the other hand there are often surprising continuities, with ideas persisting over hundreds of years despite dramatic change elsewhere. Moreover the study of crime is an activity fraught with all sorts of traps for the unwary - much of what is thought to be “fact” proves on examination to be nothing of the sort. This course looks at the changes in thinking and practice in criminal law enforcement over the last six hundred years and at major developments such as the growth of a state monopoly of criminal law enforcement and a move from restitution to retribution (nominally rehabilitation) as the basis of punishment. It does so using the various models and theories developed by various disciplines to explain the historical reality of crime, including sociology and, particularly, the economic analysis of criminal behaviour and law enforcement.
Unit Learning Outcomes: By the end of this unit you will be expected to have acquired, and be able to demonstrate through class participation and assessment and examination, the following skills and knowledge: (i) An understanding of, and familiarity with, the major models used by criminologists and historians of crime to explain criminality, the forms it takes, and the workings of the criminal legal system. (ii) An understanding and awareness of the major methodological problems that arise in the study of the history of criminality and the criminal law enforcement system. (iii) The ability to understand and analyse the documentary and other evidence produced by the criminal law enforcement system. (iv) An understanding of the historical development of the system of criminal law enforcement in Britain from the later Middle Ages to the present day.
Syllabus Content: The unit has the following components. 1. Concepts and Models of Crime and Society - looking at the major explanatory models and their application to the historical record, and the methodological issues that they raise. 2. Law and Crime in the Middle Ages and Renaissance - looking at the enforcement of criminal law in the absence of a state monopoly in this area, the “judicial revolution” and the gradual move to a state monopoly and retributive system. 3. Crime and modernity - looking at crime and the law in Britain after 1700, the impact of economic modernisation and the establishment of a state police force, and the enforcement of law after 1856. 4. Crime and the Law in the Twentieth Century - looking at changing patterns of recorded crime in the twentieth century, comparisons between different countries, the appearance of “organised crime”, and current trends.
Teaching Methods: The course will be taught using lectures, directed reading, and structured small group teaching. The lectures will introduce the basic concepts for all four learning outcomes. A handout containing the main points of the lecture will be given out each week. This will also provide guidance for the programme of directed reading throughout the year, which will help to meet outcomes I, II, and IV. The small group work will use a variety of discussion formats, normally handout based. There will also be analysis of materials and readings, consisting of both primary and secondary source material. This has particular bearing for achieving outcome III, but is relevant for the other three as well. Assessment: The assessment is 50% examination, 50% assessed work. ASSESSED WORK; The assessed work counts for 50% of the total marks for the course. This is divided up as follows: (A) Attendance at, and participation in, seminars. This will be done on a...
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