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Welfare, crime and society

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This course examines the relationships between the worlds of social welfare and crime control. It focuses on policy interventions and responses in the UK and around the world to issues such as anti-social behaviour, poverty, discrimination, hate crimes, child labour, health and disease, families, slums, ghettos and gated communities. Using multi-media teaching materials, the course is organised by four conceptual themes - surveillance, social justice, security and community. It will equip you with the skills you need to select and evaluate evidence in relation to social science arguments and social policy.

Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.

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04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
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Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£1625.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£1465.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£775.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.
Start End Fee Register
04 Oct 2014 Jun 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

See below for information about part time tuition fee loans available for study towards a qualification.

07 Feb 2015 Sep 2015
£2632.00
Choose country above

Registration opens on 30/04/14

This course is expected to start for the last time in October 2017.

*Fees may vary by country.

What you will study

  • Is it possible to detect a punitive approach to social policy, and a welfarist approach to crime control? Are there some core ideas, such as personal responsibility and punishment, which apply to both welfare and crime control policies? Are these new approaches or were they always evident in policy responses? Are these approaches evident only in the UK, or are they also visible in other countries?
  • How does a focus on the links between social welfare and crime control help us understand important issues of social concern, such as antisocial behaviour, corporate crime, community safety, environmental degradation, child welfare, warfare and poverty?
  • In a globalising world of rapid social change and interconnectedness what are the effects of social regulation, surveillance and penalisation on people’s lives? Do these policies impact on some social groups and populations more than others? Do they enhance our sense of security and well-being or do they undermine it?
  • Does looking at historical responses to these questions, in our own and other societies, help us make sense of what’s going on currently? Are ideas of responsibility, conditionality, punitivity and ‘dangerous populations’ ‘new’ – or have they always been present in public policies addressing social problems of unmet need, crime and disorder in one way or another?
  • What kinds of evidence can best help us understand these trends and evaluate their effects? How is evidence variously mobilised in the course of research, evaluation and policy making? And how do different kinds of evidence reflect – or challenge – the worldview of those involved in making policy and delivering services?

To help us answer these questions, this course looks critically at a wide range of social issues, drawing on experiences of the UK and countries in Western Europe, Africa, North America and South America. It looks at the policies of national governments and the involvement of international organisations, such as the World Bank and the International Labour Organisation in the making of welfare and crime control policy, as well as the social campaigns of non-governmental organisations, social movements and community organisations. The course looks to the present, as well as the past, in making sense of contemporary strategies and responses across the social welfare and crime control domains.

These kinds of concerns, questions and themes are explored across the course. It is organised into five parts, which collectively explore the entanglements between social welfare provision and crime control strategies.

Part one provides a gentle introduction (‘taster’) to the course questions and themes. It is presented through an online video on surveillance made specifically for this course. Through a focus on childcare, gated communities and borders, this film explores how forms and practices of surveillance reveal the everyday entanglements of welfare provision and crime control in the UK and further afield.

Part two examines the relationship between social welfare and crime control through the lens of social justice. This book-led unit is concerned with changing ideas about, and struggles over, social justice at different points in time and in different contexts and settings. It explores issues of social inequality, poverty, well-being and harm in relation to diverse issues relating to paid and unpaid work, the provision of health and welfare services, housing and environmental degradation.

Part three focuses on the concept of security to investigate the emergence of widespread insecurity and fear around economic, social and cultural change. It asks why security has become such an important idea and how the notion of security links the different domains of social, personal and political life, and especially the worlds of crime control and welfare. It seeks to make sense of the changing nature of the relationship between security and insecurity and explores some of the consequences and implications of policies and practices aimed at creating security. It explores debates about social fears and responses to those fears in relation to topics such as housing, families and transport, and the regulation of social behaviour, war and disease.

Part four explores the social welfare-crime control relationships through a focus on community. It examines the contradictions of the appeal of community in terms of its identification both as a site of social ‘good’, care and stability and as a source of social problems, exclusion and order. It considers the difficulties of defining what community means; looks at the ways in which community has become a central feature of both social welfare and crime control policies; and examines a range of debates around social regulation and social capital, and issues of community safety, ‘disorder’ and mobilisations.

Part five returns to the online video used in part one of the course and uses additional material to revisit the key course concepts, themes and questions. There is also revision guidance tailored to support students through their preparation for the end-of-course exam.

Across each of the five study units students will learn about evidence, social science argument and policy – and the relationship between them. This involves a focus on different forms and sources of evidence, the ways in which different kinds of evidence are mobilised in the policy-making process and in social science debates about those policies. Students will use evidence to explore the questions raised in the course and will think about the part that evidence plays in the policy-making processes. Students will be encouraged to apply their DD208 learning to the analysis of non-course situations and examples.

DD208 reflects The Open University’s (OU) commitment to developing courses that span and integrate a range of learning outcomes across the areas of knowledge and understanding; cognitive (analytical) skills; key skills of communication and information literacy and lifelong learning; and practical and professional skills. The development of these skills is embedded within every stage of the course, so that students will be supported in progressively developing these skills.

Vocational relevance

Welfare, crime and society is relevant to a wide range of jobs in the public, voluntary, community and commercial sectors. The areas and themes the course looks at are directly relevant to a variety of jobs in public administration, health, education, social welfare services and criminal justice services, amongst others. The analytical and key skills you will develop are relevant to any job context. Amongst the ‘transferable’ skills you will develop are: the ability to identify, gather, analyse and assess evidence; present reasoned and coherent arguments; write clearly in a range of styles such as essays, reports and policy reviews; apply learning to non-course provided examples and situations; and plan and reflect on your own work and learning.

Entry

This is a Level 2 course and you need to have a good knowledge of the subject area, obtained either through Level 1 study with the OU, or by doing equivalent work at another university. 

Our key introductory Level 1 course Introducing the social sciences (DD101) gives an excellent grounding for this Level 2 course.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.

Preparatory work

There is no requirement for prospective students to have undertaken any specific preparatory work prior to starting this course. However, for those who wish to begin thinking about some of the possible ways in which social welfare and crime control policies intersect with one another, the course team would direct you to read Naomi Klein’s No Logo (Flamingo, 2001). This work of non-fiction examines the harmful practices of global corporations and the ways in which individuals and communities are mobilising to oppose them in the name of social justice. Ian Rankin’s Fleshmarket Close (Orion, 2005) is a detective novel dealing with the plight of asylum seekers in a detention centre in Scotland. Alternatively, we recommend students watch Sweet Sixteen, directed by Ken Loach (2000). This film explores how the efforts of a teenager to improve his ‘lot’ while living in a deprived housing estate lead him into a world of criminality.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of audio and audiovisual components are available. The online video features subtitles. Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are also available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the study materials may be available in the future. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:

  • help to determine your study requirements and how to request the support that you need  
  • Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs)
  • using a computer for OU study
  • equipment and other support services that we offer
  • examination arrangements
  • how to contact us for advice and support both before you register and while you are studying.

Study materials

What's included

Course books and website.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this course as it includes online activities, which you can access using a web browser.

  • If you have purchased a new desktop or laptop computer since 2007 you should have no problems completing the online activities.
  • If you’ve got a netbook, tablet or other mobile computing device check our Technical requirements section.
  • If you use an Apple Mac you will need OS X 10.6 or later.

You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will be assigned a tutor who will provide advice and guidance relating to all aspects of the course. They will also mark and provide feedback on your assignments. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. The location of tutorials depends on the geographical distribution of students taking the course.

Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.

Assessment

The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.

You must use the online eTMA system to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs).

Future availability

The details given here are for the course that starts in October 2014 and February 2015. We then expect it to be available once a year, in October.

How to register

To register a place on this course return to the top of the page and use the Click to register button.

Student Reviews

“I did this module as a part of the Criminology and Psychological Studies degree. I signed up to the degree ...”
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“I really disliked this module but it was compulsory so I had no choice! It was my first Level 2, ...”
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Distance learning

The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.

For more information read Distance learning explained.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.
Course facts
About this course:
Course code DD208
Credits 60
OU Level 2
SCQF level 8
FHEQ level 5
Course work includes:
6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
Examination
No residential school

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