Welfare, crime and society

Home Admissions Course Guide Welfare, crime and society

This Course Guide has been taken from the most recent presentation of the course. It would be useful for reference purposes but please note that there may be updates for the following presentation.


Welfare, crime and society

Welcome to SOCI A208 Welfare, crime and society. SOCI A208 is a two-semester, 20-credit, middle-level course replacing SOCI A201 (Sociology and Society). It is originally an OUUK course (DD208), which is adopted by the HKMU to be a central course for students of the Social Sciences Programme who have a specialist interest in the applied areas of sociology, such as social policy and criminology.

SOCI A208 explores the entanglements between the worlds of social welfare and crime control, and will help you develop the skills and knowledge to enable you to think critically about this relationship. Before saying more about what this means, let's begin by looking at the aims and the learning outcomes of the course, and introduces to you how this course is organized and presented. We will also look into the learning supports and resources as well as the learning strategy of the course.

The aims of SOCI A208 are to:

  1. develop your understanding of the concepts of welfare, crime and society
  2. explore how surveillance, social justice, security and community help us understand the relationship between welfare, crime and society
  3. consider the contested nature of evidence
  4. develop your understanding of the relationship between evidence, social science and policy
  5. help you develop the study skills essential to social science and lifelong learning.

Learning outcomes are different from aims, and are about what you can expect to have achieved at the end of the course. Upon completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. discuss critically the entangled relationship between welfare, crime and society with reference to the major themes including surveillance, social justice, security and community;
  2. analyze the way social interests, positions and values impact on policies and practices in social welfare and crime control;
  3. identify key concepts and theories relevant to the study of social policy and criminology;
  4. discuss the ways we can know and the kinds of information that can help us understand the issues on welfare and crime in society;
  5. analyze, evaluate and communicate in writing academic ideas associated with the study of social welfare and crime control in a critical and reflective manner.

This Course Guide tells you:

  • how the course is organized and the available study resources (Section 3),
  • how to organize and manage your study with the support of a proposed study plan (Section 4.),
  • where to look for guidance and help (Section 5),
  • the assessment strategy of the course (Section 6).

Table 1: Overview of course organisation, materials and resources

Study ModuleMaterials and resources
Introductory Study ModuleIntroductory GuideSurveillance film
Study Module 1: Social JusticeStudy Guide 1Book 1: Social Justice
Study Module 2: SecurityStudy Guide 2Book 2: Security
Study Module 3: CommunityStudy Guide 3Book 3: Community
Concluding Study Unit: Review and RevisionConcluding Guide and the Revision AudioReview film


The Study Modules

  • The Introductory Module introduces the central concerns of the course by focusing on surveillance. It invites you to begin to think about how the welfare/crime entanglements can be seen through practices of surveillance. The main study material is the first SOCI A208 film, 'Surveillance: welfare, crime and society'.
  • Study Module 1 examines the ambiguities of the welfare/crime relationship through a focus on social justice. The main study material is Book 1, which invites you to think about what is social about social justice; the changing and contested definitions of social justice; and how ideas of social justice have shaped both social welfare and crime policy responses.
  • Study Module 2 explores the welfare/crime relationship through the notion of security. So Book 2 invites you to think about the different ways in which security can be thought about; the ways in which social fears and insecurities are generated and reproduced; and how these influence the development of social welfare and crime control policies.
  • Study Module 3 develops our exploration of the welfare/crime relationship through a focus on community. Book 3 therefore invites you to think about the multiple meanings and connotations of the term 'community', and the ways in which it is seen as a site of security and social order as well as a source of social problems.
  • The Concluding Module: Review and Revision looks back across the main questions and themes of the course. It reflects on how the four key sites – surveillance, social justice, security and community – help us understand the complex and dynamic relationship between welfare, crime and society.

The study materials and resourcess

You will use various materials and draw on many resources in the course.


The five Study Guides

The Study Guides are an integral part of your study materials, alongside the three books and the audio-visual materials. The Study Guides have been designed very carefully so that you are introduced gently to the course and are able to gain a clear sense early on of the skills and strengths you have brought with you to SOCI A208, and which you can now build on. There are altogether 5 Study Guides, and each corresponds to a Study Module. The study guides will direct you through each stage of the course. You should read the relevant Study Guide before you start each Study Module, and actively refer to it as you study. They have two main aims:

i. to help you make integrated and effective use of all the different course components;
ii. to help you get the most from your studies by developing your study skills and becoming an active and reflective learner.

So as the title implies, it is really important to regard the relevant study guide as a companion and to refer to it constantly as you work on each part of the course. Each Study Guide will play a crucial role in helping you develop your confidence in understanding and using SOCI A208 ideas. The first four Study Guides will support your preparation of assignments, while the Concluding Guide will help you review the course and prepare for the end-of-course examination.


The three books

These are based on three of the core concepts: social justice, security and community. The books provide the main resources for learning about the complex interrelationship between welfare provision and crime control policies in Study Modules 1 (Social Justice), 2 (Security) and 3 (Community). Each book is supported by a Study Guide.
The three books are:

  • Book 1: Social Justice: Welfare, Crime and Society, edited by Janet Newman and Nicola Yeates
  • Book 2: Security: Welfare, Crime and Society, edited by Allan Cochrane and Deborah Talbot
  • Book 3: Community: Welfare, Crime and Society, edited by Gerry Mooney and Sarah Neal

The SOCI A208 films: 'Surveillance' (Film 1) and 'Review' (Film 2)

These films form the main teaching material of the Introductory Module and the Concluding Module. Film 1, 'Surveillance: welfare, crime and society' commences with a short feature, 'Learning from the Surveillance film', supports your study of the Surveillance and Review films. It is then followed by 4 chapters – 'Introducing surveillance', 'Safeguarding children', 'Gated communities' and 'Migrants and borders'. Each of these chapters uses surveillance to introduce the course and its focus on entanglements. Each chapter also begins to make links to social justice, security and community, subsequently explored in the three main texts. Film 2, 'Review: welfare, crime and society', looks back across the course as a whole and supports you in preparing for the end-of-course examination.

Please note that in previous years, the films were produced in the form of DVDs. It has not been possible to revise these materials in a way that completely eliminates all references to 'DVD 1' (the Surveillance film) and 'DVD 2' (the Review film). Hong Kong Metropolitan University apologises for any confusion this may cause. For clarity:

  • DVD 1 is the first SOCI A208 film, 'Surveillance: welfare, crime and society'
  • DVD 2 is the second SOCI A208 film, 'Review: welfare, crime and society'.

Revision Audio

This is part of your revision materials and complements the revision support in the Assessment Guidance and the Review film.


The Study Plan

The Study Plan is the spine of the course and can give you an overview of which components you will be using in each week of your study. It also tells you when your assignments are due to be submitted. It is therefore very important in helping you plan your studies.


Assessment Handbook

This contains comprehensive information about completing and submitting your assignments. It includes detailed advice on the skills associated with writing assessed work. You should read it carefully. The actual questions are supplied separately during the presentation of the course.


Online Learning Environment (OLE)

We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the contents of the SOCI A208. You will find it a valuable resource in helping you study the course, develop your skills and follow links to wider resources. Among the resources available are:

  • the two SOCI A208 films
  • the schedules (Presentation schedule and the schedules for the day schools as well as the tutorials)
  • Assignment files
  • Discussion forum where you could engage yourself with fellow students in discussions related to issues that arise in your study.

How to work with the course materials

The main resources you will be working with combine written, visual and audio materials. This means that although you do have flexibility about where and when you can do your reading, sometimes it will be necessary to plan ahead so that you have access to all the resources that you need. You can use the Study Plan to help you do this.

Studying this course involves making use of information technology. The OLE provides you an electronic environment that supports learning through the distance mode. We hope that you will make use of the various supports on the OLE. You may like to browse the OLE now to familiarise yourself with it. If you have any technical problems with accessing online resources, you can contact the HKMU IT Helpdesk. There are two ways of doing this:

  • By phone (27686454)
  • By email (olemaster@hkmu.edu.hk)

We estimate that you should plan for about 15 to 18 hours of study for each week of the course. This is time for both reading and 'active study', and for reviewing and reflecting on what you have learnt. The required hours of study can only be a rough estimate of how much time you should plan to spend on the course each week. How much time you actually need to spend will depend on how experienced you are at studying, how well your English language skills are, how familiar you are with social science and social policy, how tired you are when you are studying and how many distractions you might have. The table below is the Study Plan for this presentation:


Table 2: Study Plan

Study week
beginning Monday
Study Unit Tutorial (T)
Dayschool (D)
104-Sep-2023Introductory Module: SurveillanceCourse Guide, Introductory Guide (Week 1) & Short Feature: Learning from the Surveillance film'T1
211-Sep-2023Introductory Guide (Week 2) & Film 1, Chapter 1T2
318-Sep-2023Introductory Guide (Week 3) & Film 1, Chapters 2, 3 and 4 
425-Sep-2023Assignment weeks (Assignment 1)Submission date: <22 October 2023>
Assignment File for Assignment 1
502-Oct-2023Module 1: Social JusticeStudy Guide 1, Introduction & Section 1T4
609-Oct-2023Book 1, Chapter 1, Study Guide 1, Section 2: Introduction and Section 2.1 
716-Oct-2023Book 1, Chapter 2, Study Guide 1, Section 2.2T5
823-Oct-2023Book 1, Chapter 3, Study Guide 1, Section 2.3T6
930-Oct-2023Book 1, Chapter 4, Study Guide 1, Section 2.4 
1006-Nov-2023Assignment weeks (Assignment 2)Study Guide 1: Section on 'Completing Assignment 2'
Assignment File for Assignment 2
Submission Date: <03 December 2023>
1113-Nov-2023Module 1: Social Justice (continued)Book 1, Chapter 5, Study Guide 1, Section 2.5T7
1220-Nov-2023Book 1, Chapter 6, Study Guide 1, Section 3 
1327-Nov-2023Consolidation T8
1404-Dec-2023Module 2: SecurityStudy Guide 2, Introduction, Section 1 and Section 2D2
1511-Dec-2023Book 2, Chapter 1 and Study Guide 2, Section 2.1T9
1618-Dec-2023Assignment week (Assignment 3)Assignment File for Assignment 3
Study Guide 2, Section on 'Completing Assignment 3'.
Submission date: <07 January 2024>
1725-Dec-2023Module 2: Security (continued)Book 2, Chapter 2 and Study Guide 2, Section 2.2 
1801-Jan-2024Book 2, Chapter 3 and Study Guide 2, Section 2.3 
1908-Jan-2024Book 2, Chapter 4 and Study Guide 2, Section 2.4 
2015-Jan-2024Book 2, Chapter 5 and Study Guide 2, Section 2.5 
2122-Jan-2024Module 2: Security (continued)Book 2, Chapter 6 and Study Guide 2, Section 3.1T10
2229-Jan-2024Assignment weeks (Assignment 4)Assignment File for Assignment 4
Study Guide 2, Section on 'completing Assignment 4'
Submission date: <11 February 2024>
2305-Feb-2024Consolidation T12
2412-Feb-2024Module 3: CommunityBook 3, Chapter 1, Study Guide 3, Sections 1, 2 and 2.1 

Book 3, Chapter 2, Study Guide 3, Section 2.2
Submission date: <17 March 2024>

2626-Feb-2024Assignment week (Assignment 5)Assignment File for Assignment 5 & the Revision AudioT14
2704-Mar-2024Module 3: Community (continued)Book 3, Chapter 3, Study Guide 3, Section 2.3 
2811-Mar-2024Book 3, Chapter 4, Study Guide 3, Section 2.4T15
2918-Mar-2024Book 3, Chapter 5, Study Guide 3, Section 2.5T16
3025-Mar-2024Assignment week (Assignment 6)Assignment File for Assignment 6
Submission date: <21 April 2024>
3101-Apr-2024Module 3: Community (continued)Book 3, Chapter 6, Study Guide 3, Section 3T17
3208-Apr-2024Consolidation T18
3315-Apr-2024Concluding Module: Review and RevisionFilm 2 Review: welfare, crime and society, Concluding Guide & Revision Audio 

Notes: The tutorial schedule will be uploaded onto the OLE once all the details are confirmed.

While you are studying SOCI A208, you have various opportunities for support from your tutor, including direct contact with him/her and with other students studying SOCI A208, at tutorials, day schools and/or through the OLE. Tutorials, each of 2-hour duration, are held roughly about every fortnight throughout the presentation of the course, and you are advised to attend as many as your own circumstances allow – we encourage you to go to them if you can. You will be assigned a tutorial group. Due to small enrolment, it is unlikely that we can have much choice over the timeslot. You can find information on tutorials via the OLE. As an extra option, you can keep in contact with your tutor by phone, discussion forum on the OLE and email.

If this is the first course that you have studied with Hong Kong Metropolitan University, it may take you a little while to become familiar with the way things are organised and presented to students. Remember that you have a tutor and myself, the Course Coordinator whom you can contact throughout your studies (Mr. Chan Wai-leung, Tel: 27685737 and email: walchan@hkmu.edu.hk).

For all students, studying in the distance learning mode can be demanding. Most obviously, it puts demands on your time and energy and may engage you emotionally. You may feel anxious about studying, as it may be a number of years since you studied formally. You may be worried about whether you are 'good enough' to do a degree. You may also find that some of the subject matters evoke strong feelings for you, especially where a Study Module focuses on aspects of social injustice, security, or community issues that may touch on your own personal and professional experiences, or challenge values and opinions that you have held for some time. If this happens, we recommend that you seek support from your tutor and/or other students, and perhaps from friends, family or colleagues as well.

Course assessment includes continuous assessment (50%) and a written examination (50%) at the end of the presentation. Students must pass both continuous assessment and the examination in order to pass the course.

Continuous assessment includes six assignments all of which are required for assessment purpose. The six assignments consist of mainly essay-type questions:

Assignment 1: This very first assignment which is comparatively short (800 to 1000 words) and it aims to assess students' initial understanding of the course through a focus on the theme of surveillance. This assignment carries 10% of the total OCAS

Assignment 2: This assignment aims to assess students' ability to analyze and appraise the different kinds of evidence in relation to the themes of surveillance and social justice. Students are required to write 1600 to 1800 words and this assignment carries 20% of the total OCAS.

Assignment 3: This assignment focuses on the theme of social justice and it aims to assess students' ability to analyze how social justice can be used to highlight the entanglements between the policy arenas of social welfare and crime control. Students are required to write 1600 to 1800 words and this assignment carries 20% of the total OCAS.

Assignment 4: This assignment focuses on the theme of security and it aims to assess students' ability to discuss and evaluate how the requirement for security brings about a 'punitive drift' that sheds lights on the relationship between social welfare and crime. Students are required to write 1600 to 1800 words and this assignment carries 20% of the total OCAS.

Assignment 5: This assignment consolidates students' learning on the relationship between social welfare and crime control. It aims to assess students' ability to write short notes and produce answers that is expected in an examination. This assignment carries 10% of the OCAS.

Assignment 6: This assignment focuses on the theme of community. It aims to assess students' understanding of the concept of community and how it has been a focus for welfare and crime control policies. Students are required to write 1600 to 1800 words and this assignment carries 20% of the total OCAS.

You may find it helpful to note at this early stage that you have dedicated time to write your first assignment, which is due to be submitted in Week 5. All the information you will need about assessment and individual assignments is contained in the Assignment Handbook of the SOCI A208 and the Assignment Files containing guidance notes for the assignments. These files will be delivered to you during the presentation.

There will be one three-hour examination which covers all the topics in the course. It composes of 6 essay type questions and students are required to answer only three of them in three hours' time. All the learning outcomes are assessed.

Coming soon