We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23

Department: Sociology

SOCI40630: Gender, Violence and Abuse

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • The module aims to provide students with:
  • an advanced education in theoretically informed, empirically grounded analysis of issues related to gender-based violence and abuse. This will include gaining a sophisticated understanding of the methodological complexities associated with applied criminological and sociological research and key feminist conceptual frames that include consideration of gender and intersecting identities including race, social class, sexuality, transgender identity, age, disability, citizenship status, faith.
  • Opportunities to consider how critical theoretical thinking and empirical data can be drawn on to inform policy and develop best practice in addressing gender-based violence in ‘real life’.


  • The module will focus on areas of current staff research expertise in gender-based violence and abuse (areas will be dependent on the availability of staff); possible examples include: violence against sex workers; children and young people with harmful sexual behaviours; sexual violence; domestic violence; rape; hate speech; domestic violence in relationships of LGB and/or T+ people; child sexual abuse and exploitation; gender-based violence and climate change).
  • The module will explore relevant sociological frames for understanding these topics, informed by a range of feminist theories including postcolonial and intersectional feminism.
  • The moule will present detailed analysis of empirical research on gender-based violence; and opportunities to critically consider the implications of empirical research for policy and practice.
  • As well as considering relevant policies, particularly in the UK, . Sstudents will also be introduced to national, transnational literature and perspectives.
  • The module will demonstrate the relevance of a range of qualitative and quantitative methodologies for the exploration of gender-based violence and abuse, including innovative methodologies employed by staff teaching on the module.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • An advanced comprehension of the theories, principles, conceptual frameworks and methodologies applied to understanding and defining gender-based violence and abuse.
  • Advanced critical understanding of feminist sociological and criminological debates and perspectives around gender-based violence and abuse.
  • A developed critical understanding of the complex and frequently sensitive methodological and ethical issues involved in researching these areas, particularly with regard to a variety of national and international contexts
  • A sophisticated understanding of the epistemological and methodological background of the research literature encountered on the module.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Critically evaluate criminological and sociological concepts, argument and evidence at an advanced level.
  • Employ abstract theoretical concepts to express an understanding of specific forms of, responses to, and representations of gender-based violence and abuse, and to assess the relative merits of these concepts.
  • Analyse the role and importance of different historical, social, legal and political contexts to forms of, responses to, and representations of gender-based violence and abuse in national, transnational and international settings.
  • Apply this advanced knowledge to specific research contexts.
  • • Apply this advanced knowledge in a particular practice area (e.g. prevention, early intervention, crisis intervention, investigation etc).
  • Select an appropriate topic and focus for the assignment, which demonstrates advanced skills of critical analysis, evaluation and conceptual argument.
Key Skills:
  • An advanced ability to independently gather appropriate information from a range of sources and to make competent judgments about the relative worth, relevance and appropriateness of a range of sources.
  • Advanced communication skills, including the ability to construct systematic, coherent written arguments and to appreciate their relevance to professional and academic audiences.
  • Ability to evaluate research findings and to assess the strength of the methodologies employed, whether quantitative or qualitative.
  • Effective time-management, working to prescribed deadlines.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Teaching and learning will take place in weekly workshops of 2 hours. The workshops will involve a combination of lecture and discussion-based teaching methods, the balance of which may vary from year to year.
  • Lectures: introduce the relevant topics on gender-based violence and abuse within their historical, social, legal and political contexts in different national and international settings. Additionally, explore the methodological and ethical issues associated with researching these topic areas.
  • Discussion and group work: through participation in discussion and group work, students will evaluate criminological and sociological concepts and argument, and will be encouraged to apply abstract theoretical concepts to specific forms of gender-based violence and abuse. In-class exercises and discussion will provide students with formative feedback on their progress. Feedback will be received from both the tutor and peers.
  • Independent Study: allows students to read widely around different topics, drawing on debates within scholarly journals and research monographs, and developing skills in critically engaging with literature.
  • Summative Assessment: enables students to demonstrate learning, knowledge and understanding on specific topics and to construct systematic discussion within word limit constraints. The briefing paper assesses the ability of students to construct written arguments succinctly to a range of audiences both academic and professional.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshops (Lectures/Discussion Groups) 18 weekly 2 36
Preparation and Reading 264
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Summative Assessment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Summative Essay 3000 words 50%
Briefing paper 1500 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal presentation to module leader only (not other students) on proposed topic and content of briefing note). This should take place at least 3 weeks before briefing paper submission date.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University