Module code: SOC3068

Module Overview

Ideas of deviance and the impulse to regulate human behaviour accordingly have not always focused exclusively on more obvious and familiar “crimes”. A striking feature in the development of all societies has been the apparent need to police and control the bodies & associated pleasures of their citizens.  While this has always centred around predictably “deviant” activities like sexual behaviour, dance, carnival, and so on it is arguable that the will to proscribe ranges of ostensibly harmless enjoyments as deviant has expanded significantly in the aftermath of the “permissive” revolutions of the 60’s. Contemporary drug-culture, the multi-faceted sexual behaviours of the modern world, the explosion of pornography facilitated by the internet; the dance & club scene, extreme sports & bloodsports; ‘cruelty’ TV and so on all represent arenas where societal tensions between the experience of pleasure and the urge to criminalise it continue to develop.

But given that the majority of pleasure-seeking behaviours are personal and non-harmful and given further that, (as Schlosser has recently argued) the drugs and sex industries now constitute bigger industries than traditional ones in advanced economies like the US, it is an obvious question to ask why the regulation of pleasure is still an issue at all?

This level 6 module seeks to critically examine why the impulse to regulate bodies and their behaviour has developed in the way that it has and how this has manifested itself within modernity. It aims to challenge students across the Criminology and Sociology programmes to re-evaluate the nature of social order and to consider the relation between these social sciences in responding to this.

Module provider


Module Leader

MCGUIRE Michael (Sociology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Guided Learning: 11

Captured Content: 11

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:


Introduction: A Criminology of Pleasure?

Pleasure, Regulation and Crime

‘Normal’ and ‘Abnormal’ Sexual Pleasure and its Control

The Commodification of Sexual Pleasure and its Control

Dark Tourism

Drugs, Pleasure and Regulation

The Pleasures of Music and Dance

Violent Pleasure

Pleasurable Risks

Future Pleasures and Future Controls

Course Overview and Assignment 2 Preparation



Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework ESSAY 70
School-timetabled exam/test Class Test (30 Minutes) 30

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

Learning Outcome

Assessed by


  • Formative essay plans

  • Class Test

  • 2,500 word essay


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


  • One essay of 2,500 words. Feedback will be provided to students both via written and verbal comments.

  • 1 Class Test


Formative assessment and feedback

  • In class quizzes, role play and tests with direct feedback and discussion

  • Proposals and plans for the summative assessments. Verbal and written feedback will be provided to students.

Module aims

  • Consider the historical and contemporary uses and abuses of pleasure
  • Evaluate the way societies have sought to regulate this, both from within and beyond the criminal justice system
  • Develop critical understanding of a range of pleasurable or potentially pleasurable activities such as drug use, sexual activity, violence
  • Identify differing socio-legal responses to pleasure and pleasure control across differing cultures

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Define and identify the scope of pleasures which societies have historically sought to regulate KC
002 Outline some of the strategies and moralities behind the policing and control of pleasure KC
003 Show in writing a capacity to critically to evaluate key arguments and assumptions around pleasure and its regulation KCP
004 Find ways of transferring understanding of abstract concepts and data relating to the regulation of pleasure into other fields KT
005 Develop competence and understanding of the way the criminal justice system manages the policing of pleasure PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

Assist students in acquiring a theoretically & empirically informed understanding of the rationale and mechanisms behind the regulation of pleasure. The aim is to help students reconceptualise the social world and the way it is ordered in terms of pleasure as a fundamental explanatory variable. In turn, to see how the role of instincts, drives and emotions have been undervalued in criminological and sociological frameworks. As a result, to gain insights into what a reconfigured social ‘science’ might entail and what this implies for the relationships between criminology sociology and other social sciences. Knowledge and understanding of these issues is fostered through lectures, seminars. Each session focuses on particular pleasures, their normative perception and the way these have been managed in criminal justice contexts. Sessions are split between lectures which aim to provide a broad introduction to a topic and seminars which aim to allow more in-depth discussion of key issues and to engage in practical exercises which enhance knowledge in more practical ways. Each session has one piece of primary reading which all students are expected to read. This reading provides the basis for class discussions.



Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: SOC3068

Other information

The Department of Sociology is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in all these areas, as highlighted throughout this module descriptor. A summary of how this is achieve for each of the five key pillars is provided below:


Digital Capabilities 

- Understanding how digital networks are transforming the access to and experience of pleasure 

- Identifying the function of content filters and other contemporary digital tools in the regulation



- Reflecting upon the sustainability of many contemporary pleasures, such as mass tourism or the environmental impact of transportation in supplying produce for the ‘foodie’ movement

- Understanding the role of discrimination based upon class, gender, ethnicity and so on in the way different pleasures are tolerated or controlled.


Global and Cultural Capabilities 

- Developing understanding of the varying cultural and historical responses to pleasure regulation 

-  Recognising the global nature of many contemporary pleasures such as travel.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Criminology with Forensic Investigation BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Criminology and Sociology BSc (Hons) 1 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.