POL30890 The Politics of Organised Crime

Academic Year 2022/2023

This course is an introduction to political, economic, and social issues linked to the emergence and behavior of criminal organizations (gangs, drug cartels, mafias). We will analyze criminal organizations from across the world, reflecting on how they come about, how they affect life around them, and what governments and citizens have done to minimize their threat. We will read works from diverse perspectives, such as political science, sociology, criminology, and economics to better understand a variety of outcomes related to organized crime. Over the course of the module we will answer questions like: What is organized crime? Why and how does organized crime emerge? What are its consequences? We will read and discuss theories of organized crime, as well as empirical studies about its causes and consequences. We will learn about the domestic and transnational dimensions of organized crime using a combination of sources, including academic papers, movies, podcasts, and newspaper articles.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of the module, you will be able to:
• Describe what organized crime is and why it emerges;
• Compare and contrast the main arguments for why and when organized crime emerges;
• Analyze the behavior and evolution of organized crime according to different theories;
• Critically assess the consequences of organized crime behavior as well as some of the existing responses

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Through the use of class discussions, individual and group assignments we will think through how academic research as well as journalists’ accounts and other sources of information can help us learn about the proliferation of violent organizations in the world. Students are expected to come to class prepared to engage in active discussion, specifically they need to engage with the readings and class materials prior to each session, and allocate an important portion of their time to complete assessment work outside class hours. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: 500-word film review essay Unspecified n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: 100-word response papers prior to every class. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Active contribution to class discussion. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Essay: 600-word essay in response to a specific question posed by the instructor. Unspecified n/a Graded No


Group Project: A group project focused on description and analysis of a criminal organization or activity Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Self-assessment activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in accordance with university policy.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Mon 15:00 - 16:50