When we turn on or read the news, we usually see stories of people around the world suffering at the hands of their own governments. Have you ever wondered what is really going on? How do these things happen? How can we stop it? This module is about crime committed by governments and it explores the definition and nature of state crime in criminological and political discourse. We look at examples of state crime and analyse them as a class. By the end of the course you will have a greater understanding of the worst types of crime. Arm yourself with academic theories and knowledge and never watch or read the news the same way again!
The module aims to develop a critical understanding of the nature of the state and the scale and type of crimes committed by governments and their agents. The definitional processes involved in labelling state’s acts as criminal are explored, as are the forces which explain why and how states enter into deviant or ‘criminal’ practices.
Teaching in lectures and seminars will be supplemented with a number of structured study sessions, such as a supervised library skills workshop, and assessment preparation for the coursework.
The course aims to develop a critical understanding of the nature of the state and the scale and type of crimes and human rights abuses committed by governments and their agents. The definitional processes involved in labelling states acts as criminal are explored, as are the forces which explain why and how states enter into deviant or criminal practices. The course is taught using lectures, seminars, film and off-campus tours/visits. The will be plenty of time for stimulating class discussions over the three weeks and the following subjects will be covered (amongst others): torture, state-corporate crime, anti-terrorism and human rights, natural disasters, asylum policy as state crime, war crimes, genocide, and resistance to state crime. The course is assessed by essay and a short presentation.
The aim of this course is to:
enable students to develop a critical understanding of the nature of the state, the scale and type of crimes committed by state agents and agencies; the definitional processes involved in states labelling acts as criminal and; the forces which explain why and how states enter into deviant or criminal practices and omissions.
enable participants to become effective users of research to enhance their understanding of criminological theory and practice.
The course is of interest to any student who wishes to know more about human rights and crimes of the state/government and to learn about a criminological analysis of crimes of the powerful.
Teaching and learning
You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, film and fieldtrips.
By the end of the course, students will also be able to demonstrate the following generic skills:
Analysis: can analyse basic criminological texts, evidence, etc. with guidance using given approaches/techniques/principles.
Synthesis: students will be taught to collect, combine and categorise state crime and criminological theories, ideas and information in a predictable and standard format.
Evaluation: with guidance, students will be required to critically evaluate material and sources on the subject of state crime.
Application: students will be shown how to apply given theories and methods carefully to a well defined problem and will present a case study of state crime to the class.
Key transferable skills;
Group working: students will have to demonstrate that they can work effectively with others as a member of a group; to this end, the class will work in small groups throughout and will be required to present, in a small group, a case study on state crime at the end of the course.
Learning resources & Management of information: Students will be required to collect appropriate material from a range of relevant, accessible criminological and journalistic sources and undertake research tasks which will test and demonstrate their ability to manage information
Problem solving: The essay and case study presentation will require students to plan, differentiate and appraise conflicting academic and journalistic sources to construct a coherent criminological argument.
Autonomy: The essay title and presentation projects will be chosen by the students (with guidance where necessary) and students will have to demonstrate that they can take responsibility for own learning with appropriate support. Writing the essay will require a significant amount of independent research and will encourage the student to act with limited autonomy, under direction.
The Queen Mary Summer School costs: £1,700 per session, which includes tution and social programme.
We offer a 10% discount to:
Students and staff from partner institutions
Current Queen Mary students
The cost of accommodation is £670 per session. For further information, please visit our page.
Additional costs and course excursions
There may be additional costs for field trips, such as entry to exhibitions, which will be in the region of £10-20. All reading material will be provided online, so it is not necessary to purchase any books.
Please note there is no deposit payment required for the Queen Mary Summer School.
To join our Summer School, you should have completed a minimum of two semesters’ study at your home institution.
We welcome Summer School students from around the world. We accept a range of qualifications:
if your home institution uses the four-point Grade Point Average (GPA) scale, we usually require a 3.0 GPA
if your home institution uses the letter scale, you will need to have a B+
We welcome international qualifications and we consider every application individually on its academic merit.
English language requirements
All of our courses are taught and assessed in English. If English isn’t your first language, you must meet one of the following English Language requirements in order to join the Queen Mary Summer School:
If you hold a degree from a majority English speaking country plus Canada you may use this degree to satisfy the English language requirements for entry, provided the degree was completed no more than 5 years before the start date of the course to which you are applying.
IELTS, 7 overall or higher
TOEFL Internet Based Test we require a minimum of 100 (L22; S25; R24; W27)
China UEE (University Entrance Exam) - 110
CET 4 – 550 or CET 6 – 490
PTE Academic 68
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English 185 70- grade C (old marking system)