Violence, Law and Crime (LAWM055)

StaffDr Stephen Skinner - Convenor
Credit Value15
Academic Year2013/4
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level7
Duration of Module Term 2: 11 weeks;

Module aims

The module aims to give students the opportunity to develop an understanding of cross-disciplinary perspectives on violence, a critical understanding of its relationships with law, and an understanding of specific examples of the problematic interplay of violence, law and crime.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of, and an ability to evaluate critically, a wide range of theoretical perspectives on the concepts of violence and crime;
  • 2. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of, and an ability to evaluate critically, a range of theoretical perspectives on the relationships among violence, law and crime;
  • 3. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of, and an ability to evaluate critically, a range of case studies involving these issues;

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. demonstrate a comprehensive ability to use relevant and cross-disciplinary materials in relation to violence, law and crime;
  • 5. demonstrate a detailed knowledge, through structured and discursive writing, of the significance and applications of theoretical analysis in relation to substantive legal examples;

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. demonstrate a comprehensive ability to use a range of library-based and electronic resources for specific learning tasks;
  • 7. demonstrate a comprehensive ability to present, explain and critically evaluate a range of substantive and theoretical arguments through seminar, formative and summative exercises;
  • 8. demonstrate a comprehensive ability to work independently and to manage time efficiently in preparing for course activities and assessments.

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover the following topics:

1. Violence – dimensions, definitions, descriptions: challenges of ontology and epistemology.

2. Violence and Crime – connections and constructions in theoretical and historical perspective.

3. Violence and Law – theories of foundation and interconnection.

4. Violence, Law and Crime – State force, State violence: justifying violence by State agents in terms of the use of force.

5. Violence, Law and Crime – interpersonal violence and the boundaries of crime: perspectives from case law, official reports and media.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning & teaching activities10Lecturer-led, two-hour fortnightly seminars (total of five).
Scheduled learning & teaching activities5Lecturer initiated, student-focused online discussion via ELE (total of five)
Guided independent study135Independent research, reading and preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Individual oral presentation of a critical commentary on a seminar topic10 minutes1-8Oral feedback from the lecturer and other students.

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay1003,750 words1-8Formal written feedback and an opportunity for oral feedback from the lecturer.

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay (3,750 words)1-8August/September assessment period

Re-assessment notes

If the module is failed and cannot be condoned the student will:

resubmit an essay by the end of the August / September exam period. The mark will be capped at the pass mark (50%). In the case of deferral the student will submit the essay by the deferred deadline. The mark will not be capped.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

N Lacy, C Wells and O Quick, Reconstructing Criminal Law, 4th edition 2010 (CUP)

D Ormerod, Smith and Hogan’s Criminal Law, 13th edition 2011 (OUP)

A Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law, 6th edition 2009 (OUP)

F Leverick, Killing in Self-Defence, 2006 (OUP)

S Uniacke, Permissible Killing, 1996 (CUP)

J Harris, Violence and Responsibility, 1980 (Routledge)

V Bufacchi, Violence and Social Justice, 2007 (Palgrave Macmillan)

E Scarry, The Body in Pain: the Making and Unmaking of the World, 1985 (OUP)

A Sarat (ed), Law, Violence and the Possibility of Justice, 2001 (Princeton University Press)

A Sarat and T R Kearns (eds), Law's Violence, 1995 (Michigan University Press)

E Stanko, Violence, 2002 (Ashgate)

E Stanko, The Meanings of Violence, 2003 (Routledge)

D Riches (ed), The Anthropology of Violence, 1986 (Blackwell)

C Nordstrom & A Robben (eds), Fieldwork Under Fire, 1995 (California University Press)

S Zizek, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections, 2007 (Profile)

S Carroll (ed), Cultures of Violence, 2007 (Palgrave Macmillan)

T Jacoby, Understanding Conflict and Violence, 2008 (Routledge)

J Derrida, “Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority’” Cardozo Law Review 11 (1990) 919-1045

R Cover, “Violence and the Word,” Yale Law Journal 95 (1986) 1601-1629

S Skinner, “Stories of Pain and the Pursuit of Justice: Law, Violence, Experience and Jurisprudence,” Law, Culture and the Humanities 5 (2009) 131-155

S. Skinner, “’As a Glow Brings out a Haze’: Understanding Violence in Jurisprudence and Joseph Conrad’s Fiction” Legal Studies 27 (2007) 465-485

S Skinner, “Giuliani and Gaggio v Italy: the Context of Violence, the Right to Life and Democratic Values” European Human Rights Law Review (2010) 85-93

ESRC, Taking Stock: What Do We Know about Interpersonal Violence?, 2002

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Web based and electronic resources: Material provided online by the United Nations, Council of Europe, Amnesty International, Ministry of Justice, Crown Prosecution Service, Law Commission – details to be provided in guidance from module director

Available as distance learning?


Origin date

21st February 2011

Key words search

Violence, law, legal theory, criminology, crime