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Criminology 252

Sociological Explanations of Crime and Deviance

Credits:  3

Length of Course: 14 weeks

Classroom Hours per Week: 4

Prerequisites: Criminology 150 and Sociology 110 and 12 credits

Corequisite: English 100

Texts: M. Inderbitzin et al. Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological Perspective. California, Sage, latest edition.

Course Description:

This course introduces students to sociological theories of crime and deviance that have made significant contributions to the development of the discipline of Criminology. Theories will be examined in their historical, social, and political contexts, with a focus on how constructions of crime and deviance have changed over time. Many of the prominent theories covered during this course include social ecology and strain, social learning, subcultural theories and group conflict, social control, labelling perspectives, feminist, and other critical perspectives. In addition to tracing the roots of contemporary theories to earlier frameworks, students are introduced to current applications of these theories and their policy implications.

Course Outline (topics will include but are not limited to):

  • Concepts of crime and deviance
  • Evaluating theories and how they work
  • Historical Foundations: Classical, Positivist, and Chicago Schools
  • Prominent historical sociological theories and their social contexts
  • Theories may include: Anomie/Strain theories, Social Disorganization, Differential Association/Opportunity, Social Control/Containment theories
  • Conflict theories may include: Social Reaction, Radical/Critical theories, Gendered perspectives
  • Contemporary sociological theories
  • Contemporary issues and challenges


Quizzes 10%
Project 20%
Midterm Exam 20%
Assignments 15%
Participation 10%
Final Exam 25%



Transferability: see