An introduction to crime and criminology
An introduction to crime and criminology

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An introduction to crime and criminology


Crime evokes a wide variety of reactions in people: fear, anger, fascination, curiosity. In this free course, An introduction to crime and criminology, you have considered the relatively common-place problem of vandalism in the form of graffiti as one example through which to explore your own views about an everyday sort of crime.

You were also invited to consider how social scientists and criminologists, in particular, study and seek to understand problems of crime. Finally, you were introduced to the idea of the criminological imagination. This, in part, involved viewing criminological issues or problems from multiple perspectives but also suggested that private troubles and social issues are often linked together.

In summary, you have learned that:

  • crimes are acts which break the law of the land
  • graffiti is a crime that is not always seen as one
  • in different circumstances, graffiti can be viewed as a crime, as art, as a form of freedom of expression, or as social protest.
  • crime is a contested concept and graffiti is an example of this
  • criminology is a social science, which means it involves the systematic study of human society and social relationships as they relate to problems of crime and criminal justice
  • crime, justice, victimisation and the study of criminology can all be emotive areas of study. As a result, the criminologist needs to be aware of the biases, value judgements and opinions that they bring with them into their field of study
  • using your criminological imagination involves trying to think about criminological problems by considering how ‘private troubles connect with public issues.’

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD105 Introduction to criminology [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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