Upon finishing this course the student is able to:
- determine and describe core issues, theories, research findings and policies in the field of criminal behaviour
- apply general knowledge on criminal behaviour over the life course to concrete issues pertaining to crime and criminal justice policy.
This course will discuss the P (problem), T (theory), O (research), and B (policy) in relation to the topic of criminal behavior, but will emphasize in particular the problem, theory, and policy aspects. Students will learn and evaluate theories of criminal behavior, and apply them to understanding relevant problems of crime and antisocial behavior. Students will also use this knowledge to evaluate current policy solutions in the Netherlands and abroad. |
This course examines the theories, research findings, and policies concerning criminal behaviour over the life course. A life course perspective views criminal behaviour not as an isolated act, but as part of a developmental trajectory and series of turning points that affect the onset, frequency, and termination of criminal behaviour. Criminality is seen as the product of a complex interaction between changing characteristics of the individual and their social environment over their life course.
This course begins with an examination of the characteristics of criminal behaviour more generally. Students will learn and critically engage with popular criminological, sociological, and psychological theories and empirical research related to patterns of criminal behaviour. We examine who commits crime, when they start, and how persistent. For example, when do offenders begin committing crimes? When do they stop? What kind of crimes do they commit? Do offenders specialize in certain types of crimes? When and where do most crimes occur?
We then examine the stages and trajectories of the life course in detail. Beginning with early childhood, we examine the role of child development and family characteristics in influencing or preventing criminal behaviours. Next, we discuss key factors related to crime in adolescence, such as school and peers. For example, does hanging out with delinquent peers lead others to commit crime as well? We then discuss trajectories of criminal behaviour into adulthood. One major finding in life course criminology is that many people “age out” of crime, that is, they stop offending as they grow older. Why do some stop, but others do not? Here we examine key turning points in the life course - marriage, employment, parenting, and incarceration – to understand desistence from (or persistence of) criminal behaviours in adulthood.
Throughout the course, we will discuss policy implications. Questions include: Can we adequately predict who will commit crime and who will not? Are current policies to prevent and reduce crime effective? What policies should we consider for different stages of the life course?
This course is important for all students as future policymakers, practitioners, or researchers wishing to understand the development of criminal behaviour and engage in the prevention and control of crime.
Expertise on the level of bachelor-1 modules from Social Science is required.
Entry requirementsPrerequisite knowledge
|Expertise from theoretical, methodological and statistical knowledge on the level of bachelor-1 modules from Social Science is required.||Required materials|
General remarksStudents will have the opportunity to work on their final project.
Class session preparationStudents are expected to have read relevant literature. Lectures are meant to be an addition rather than replacement of intensive home study. Students can look up the literature list on the Blackboard (as part of the course manual).
General remarksAssignments will be explained and explored.
Class session preparationThe corresponding literature will be posted on Blackboard and is expected to be read before commencement of the lectures.
Contribution to group workStudents will apply their knowledge to actual cases. I.e. writing an academic paper based on the interviews held and the outcome of scientific debates. Students will apply their knowledge to actual crime problems and current events.. I.e. writing an academic paper based on empirical evidence and the outcome of scientific debates.
AssessmentFinal paper on a topic related to criminal behaviour over the life course. This course will evaluate students’ knowledge of patterns of criminal behavior over the life course, theoretical paradigms, and recent research into topics of crime, imprisonment, and desistance. Students should also be able to use knowledge learned in this course to develop and assess policy solutions to crime and criminal justice problems.
AssessmentClosed book exam pertaining to lecture material and indicated literature (lectures and articles). This course will evaluate students’ knowledge of patterns of criminal behavior over the life course, theoretical paradigms, and recent research into topics of crime, imprisonment, and desistance. Students should also be able to use knowledge learned in this course to develop and assess policy solutions to crime and criminal justice problems.