AZA1281 - Explaining crime: Theory and practice - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

South Africa School of Social Science


Ms Tara Harris

Unit guides


South Africa

  • First semester 2017 (Day)


The unit may be offered as part of the Summer Arts ProgramSummer Arts Program (


The unit is designed to help students understand crime and to be able to critically analyse and evaluate the various facets of crime. It does this by introducing students to the main paradigms (including the importance of an African paradigm) and theories of crime and critically evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of those paradigms and theories. It also analyses issues such as: What is crime? How does society decide that certain actions are criminal? What are the causes of crime? The seriousness of the crime problem; why society views corporate crime differently from street crime; how the media responds to crime; the value or otherwise of crime statistics and what effect the images of crime have on societies' perceptions of the crime problem and how it should be addressed.


On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

  1. A critical understanding of the various facets of crime and the crime problem particularly from an African perspective;
  2. An ability to evaluate theories of crime and their applicability to contemporary society;
  3. An understanding of the value or otherwise of crime statistics and how they are used;
  4. The ability to write an essay based on rational argument;
  5. The skills needed to deliver an oral presentation;
  6. Library and internet based research skills.


Within semester assessment: 50% + Exam: 50%

Workload requirements

Minimum total expected workload to achieve the learning outcomes for this unit is 144 hours per semester typically comprising a mixture of scheduled learning activities and independent study. A unit requires on average three/four hours of scheduled activities per week. Scheduled activities may include a combination of teacher directed learning, peer directed learning and online engagement.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study