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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

SOCI42930: Crime, Justice and the Sex Industry

Type Open Level 4 Credits 30 Availability Not available in 2021/22


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To critically examine the historical, legal, social and cultural dimensions of the sex industry within the context of theories of crime and deviance, and social policy.
  • To understand and assess the current politics of prostitution reform, at both local and global levels.
  • To explore and assess research studies that focus on the lived experience of people working in the sex industry.


  • This module will focus on:
  • The history of the sex industry in the UK, in the context of contemporary issues of globalisation, the global sex trade, and social policy/prostitution reform.
  • An introduction to major criminological approaches to sex work, including feminist theories.
  • The legal, social and cultural dimensions of the sex industry drawing upon historical and contemporary empirical research in order to analyse crime, justice and the sex industry in the 21st century.
  • Topics covered include: Histories of sex work and the sex industry; Prostitution and the Criminal Justice System, in the UK and internationally; Theoretical approaches and perspectives to sex work, including feminisms, psycho-social approaches, liberal, post-modern and globalisation; The Sex Worker’s rights movement; Cultural criminology and visual representations of Sex Work; Male sex work and queering sex work; Migrant sex workers and sex trafficking; Children and young people in the sex industry; Sex work in the media and popular culture.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • demonstrate advanced critical understanding of major themes in the study of the sex industry (historical, legal, social, political, and cultural);
  • demonstrate advanced critical understanding of theoretical criminology in relation to both historical and contemporary dimensions of the sex industry;
  • understand and assess related social policy issues at an advanced level, with particular reference to the politics of contemporary prostitution reform (globally and locally).
Subject-specific Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • think critically about recurring and transforming themes and issues in sex work, at an advanced level;
  • critically evaluate criminological theory in relation to historical and contemporary dimensions of the sex industry, at an advanced level;
  • critically evaluate and interpret information, evidence and explanations of sex work from a variety of sources and theoretical perspectives, at an advanced level.
Key Skills:
  • On completion of the module students should be able to:
  • engage in advanced critical reasoning and informed debate;
  • synthesise and critique complex arguments drawn from a broad range of sources, including visual and multi-media;
  • communicate complex arguments effectively in writing;
  • demonstrate a high degree of self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems and workload;
  • demonstrate effective study and learning skills (note taking; avoiding plagiarism, gathering and using information, constructing a bibliography, referencing) • demonstrate IT skills in word processing, using the web, using a virtual learning environment (i.e. DUO) and through developing an online essay (Wiki page).

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

  • Weekly Lectures in the first term will introduce students to advanced concepts, arguments and theoretical debates related to criminology and sex work.
  • Ten x 1 hour long seminars. The seminars will allow students to apply knowledge of advanced concepts, arguments and theoretical debates to research studies that focus on the lived experience of those working in the sex industry.
  • The essay will assess depth of understanding, breadth of knowledge and demonstrate students’ ability to synthesize knowledge, construct an argument and communicate this coherently and effectively within a 2500 word limit.
  • The 4000 word online essay (Wiki page) will test the depth and breadth of students’ analytical skills, theoretical and methodological understanding in one substantive area of study from the module.
  • The formative assessment is an online essay plan of the summative assessment (Wiki). The formative will give students the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the mode of assessment and receive feedback on subject knowledge. The formative will enable students to develop their Summative Online Essay (Wiki) with feedback from the module leader.
  • A one hour workshop will be delivered in the first term. This workshop will focus on developing an online essay (or Wiki page) which students are required to do for the formative and summative assessment. In additional detailed instructions will be provided for developing a Wiki page.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 20 Weekly in terms 1 and 2 1 hour 20
Seminars 10 Weekly in term 2 1 hour 10
Training workshop 1 term 1 1 1
Reading and Preparation 269
Total 300

Summative Assessment

Component: Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Online essay (Wiki Page) 4000 words 50%
Written Assessment 2500 words 50%

Formative Assessment:

An online essay plan (Wiki page) c.1500 words.

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