Sociological Explanations of Criminal Behaviour

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
CRIM 2252
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course will critically examine the sociological, socio-cultural, and socio-psychological explanations of criminal behaviour such as the ecological theories, conflict theories, control theories, and symbolic interactionist theories. Some of the specific theories subjected to critical examination will be those concerned with class and group conflict, subcultures, social conditioning, containment, differential association, labelling and gender.
Course Content
  1. Introduction and Overview
    • Reviewing Sociological Paradigms and Concepts
    • Determining What is Good Theory
    • Distinguishing Different Types of Theories
    • Social Context and Theories
    • Conceptions of Deviance
  2. Theories and Perspectives
    • The Classical School
    • The Positive School
    • The Functionalist Perspective
    • Anomie / Strain and Opportunity Theories
    • The Chicago School
    • Social Disorganization
    • Differential Association/Differential Opportunity
    • Techniques of Neutralization
    • Control/Containment Theories
    • Culture, Radical and Analytical Conflict Theories
    • Peacemaking Theories
    • Postmodernist Theories
    • Gender Theories
  3. Themes of Crime and Deviance, such as:
    • Prostitution
    • Rape and Other Sexual Assaults
    • Family Violence Including Sexual Abuse
    • White Collar Crime
    • Alcohol and Drug Issues
    • Homicide
    • Mental and Physical Illness as Deviance
    • Terrorism
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:


  • lectures
  • seminar presentations
  • audio visual materials including video
  • small group discussions
  • research projects
  • research papers
  • online assignments
  • online discussion groups
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following:


  1. Short Answer Tests
  2. Exams
  3. Oral Presentation
  4. Research Project/ Term Paper
  5. Class & Online discussion Participation


An example of one possible evaluation scheme would be:

2 mid-semester exams      
each 30%
Final exam  10%
Research paper  30%
Total 100%
Learning Outcomes

The primary objective of this course is to familiarize students with the general principles of sociological analysis.  Students will learn to describe sociological explanations of law and sociological explanations of deviant and criminal behaviour.  In addition, students will learn to critically evaluate and assess sociological theories of crime and deviance and discuss the implications of relevant research. Students will be able to apply specific theoretical perspectives to the exploration of how deviance and crime are created and maintained and how specific individuals become identified as deviant or criminal both within institutional and non-institutional settings.


Learning Outcomes:

At the successful conclusion of the course, students will be able to

1. Distinguish between scholarly and lay theores of crime & deviance.

2. Decribe and evaluate methods by which crime & deviance are studied empirically

3. Critically evaluate sociological theories of crime and deviance.

4. Distinguish between crime & deviance

5. Evaluate and apply theoretical explanations and perspectives to the processes by which crime & deviance are created and dealt with.

6. Critically assess positivist and constructionist approaches in the study of crime & deviance.


Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:

Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:


Reiman, J. (2015). The Rich Get Richer, The Poor Get Prison. (10th ed.). Boston:  Allyn & Bacon.


Thio, A., Calhoun, T.C., Conyers, A. (2010). Readings in Deviant Behaviour. (6th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.


Additional texts may include:


Williams, F. P. & McShane, M.  (2018). Criminological Theory. (7th ed.).  New Jersey:  Prentice Hall.


Brym, R.J. (2015). Sociology as a Life or Death Issue. (3rd ed.). Toronto: Pearson .




No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Requisite for

This course is not required for any other course.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOCI 210 (3) 2011/01/01 to -
Camosun College (CAMO) CAMO SOC 250 (3) 2013/01/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU CRIM 101 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU CRIM 2331 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
North Island College (NIC) NIC SOC 230 (3) 2001/09/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 104 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2009/04/30
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU CRIM 104 (3), B-Soc 2009/05/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CRIM 104 (3), OL 2004/09/01 to 2010/12/31
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU CRIM 1049 (3), OL 2011/01/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU SOCI 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2009/12/31
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU SOCI 2XXX (3) 2010/01/01 to -
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HUMA 2XX (3) 2010/01/01 to 2019/08/31
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU SOCI 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2009/12/31
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU SOCI 2XX (3) 2019/09/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO SOCI 2nd (3) 2005/05/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV SOCI 250 (3) or UBCV SOCI 2nd (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC SOSC 2XX (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV CRIM 104 (3) 2004/09/01 to -
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC SOCI 2XX (1.5) 2004/09/01 to -
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU CRIM 103 (3) 2010/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Winter 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.