Theories of Crime and Deviance | Abertay University

Theories of Crime and Deviance


CRM802 introduces a range of theoretical approaches that explain crime, deviance and criminal behaviour.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with: the ability to develop an understanding and enhance critical awareness of classical and contemporary perspectives on crime and deviance.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Discuss the contribution of criminological and sociological research to our understandings of crime and deviance.

2.  Compare and contrast different theoretical explanations of crime, deviance and juvenile delinquency.

3.  Demonstrate an understanding of the socially constructed nature of deviance and the social forces that structure criminal behaviour.

Indicative Content

1 Classical Theories

Classical criminology & Biological Positivism.

2 Early Sociologies of Crime and Deviance

Durkheim, Merton and Anomie, Chicago School, Subcultural Approaches.

3 Social reaction/labelling/interactionism

Lemert, Becker and Symbolic Interactionism.

4 Conflict theories

Marx and Engels on Crime; Bonger; American Conflict Theorists: Turk, Quinney and Chambliss; New Criminology.

5 Right and Left Realism

Left and Right Realist approaches to crime with a particular focus on James Q. Wilson (Right Realism) and Jock Young (Left Realism).

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students are taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. Seminar classes are based around the completion of group work exercises that aim to foster core skills associated with Abertay graduate attributes such as collaborative, team working and problem solving skills. The module also seeks to develop students independent learning skills through a programme of guided readings upon which the success of the seminar classes are based. All students are required to complete the relevant readings for each class and be ready to fully participate in small group discussions. While lectures provide a necessary guide that facilitates students own independent learning; seminars seek to develop their critical thinking, group work and communication skills. A 1000 word critical review of a classic criminological text assesses the first half of the module, while a 2 hour examination assesses the second half of the module.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 22
Tutorial/Seminar 10
Supervised Practical Activity 0
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 20
Independent 148

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2018/19 , and may be subject to change for future years.