ShortCuts to Sociology: free film collection

For reasons that need not detain us here I was looking at the various free films we’ve published over the past few years and thought it might be useful to gather them all together in a single post.

Strain Theory

This would enable anyone who’s interested in using them with their students – particularly, but not exclusively, for online viewing / work – to both see what’s available in different areas (from crime through religion to media) and have them easily accessible in a single place rather than being dotted randomly around the blog.

And so, when I was at a loose-end awaiting delivery of some voice-over files for a couple of new films currently being edited (or not, as is currently the the case), I thought that’s what I’d do.

So I did.

And here they all are, in a handy single-post list.

The films vary in length, most coming-in at between 3 or 4 minutes, with a couple of exceptions – the “1-minute” films are, unsurprisingly, all around 1-minute long (give or take) and there are a couple of longer films that last around 8 – 10 minutes. The films are broadly-designed around major sociological ideas, concepts and perspectives (such as Risk Theory, labelling theory or green crime) and can be used to introduce these ideas, prompt discussion and so forth.

Culture and Identity

Countdown to Culture Counting down 10 functions of Culture.

Functions of Identity Counting down 5 functions of Identity.

Crime and Deviance

Right Realism vs. Edgework Short film that contrasts a Right Realist approach to understanding (youth) crime with Lyng’s concept of Edgework

Labelling Theory: Social Contexts Professor Sandra Walklate explains the relationship between labelling and social context.

Labelling Theory Professor Sandra Walklate outlines some of the key ideas behind labelling theory, including social contexts and reactions, primary and secondary deviation, self-worth and self-identity.

Secondary deviation Professor Sandra Walklate briefly explains Lemart’s concept of Secondary deviation.

Crime as a Social Construct Dr Matt Follet briefly explains how crime is a social construct.

One Minute Marxism Marxist approaches to crime and deviance – from the criminalisation of the poor and powerless to the invisibility of the rich and powerful – explained in around one minute (give-or-take the credits).

One Minute Interactionism Interactionist approaches to understanding crime and deviance outlined in just a minute…

One Minute Interactionism: Animated

Animated version of the 1-Minute Interactionism film.

One Minute Realism Realist approaches to crime and deviance outlined and explained in just a minute.

One Minute Strain Theory Merton’s concept of strain applied to an understanding and explanation of crime and deviance in just a minute…

One Minute Strain Theory | The Animated Version Animated version of the 1-Minute Strain Theory film.

Situational Crime Prevention This short film examines the concept of situational crime prevention through the work of Dr. Kate Painter and her Stoke-on-Trent (UK) study of street lighting and its relationship to crime prevention.

Gendering the Criminal Professor Sandra Walklate talks about the relationship between gender and crime and explains how and why masculinity offers a partial, but not necessarily sufficient, explanation for the over-representation of young men in the crime statistics.

Women and Crime Professor Sandra Walklate identifies reasons for the increase in female crime and criminality over the past 25 years and looks briefly at the impact of (2nd wave) feminist perspectives on criminology in relation to issues of sexual and domestic violence.

Crime and New Technology This film looks at some of the continuities and changes in criminal behaviour that have flowed from the development of new technology and the Internet.

Girls and Binge-Drinking Short film that looks at the social and sociological problem of binge-drinking girls.

Class, Family and Crime Short film that looks at the relationship between crime, class and family background.

Green Criminology Dr Gary Potter offers a brief explanation of what is meant by green criminology.

The Social Construction of Green Crime Dr Gary Potter outlines two ways green crime is socially constructed.

Primary and Secondary Green Crime Dr Gary Potter explains, using simple examples, the difference between primary and secondary green crime

Green Crime and Criminology Dr. Gary Potter provides a brief introduction to the concepts of green crime and criminology.

Crime, Consumption and Harm Dr Matt Follet explains how consumption patterns in contemporary societies link into ideas about environmental / green crime and the concept of harm.

Crime, Consumption and Harm (alt_version) An alternative version that uses additional video footage to illustrate some of the ideas put forward in the film.

State Crime A short introduction to the concept of State Crime featuring Professor Sandra Walklate

Organised Crime Short film featuring Dr James Treadwell that covers some basic introductory stuff (such as defining organised crime) and illustrates a number of different models of organised crime (from clan models to network structure models).

Crime Statistics: The Dark Figure This is a short video that looks at the so-called “dark figure” of crime – crimes that are committed in our society but which never appear in the official recorded crime statistics. As such the video looks at methodological questions (reliability and validity, for example) surrounding our use of official crime statistics.

Amoral Panics Amoral Panics (with a bit of Stan Cohen on Moral Panics thrown in for good measure) are, argues Stuart Waiton, the most common form of panic in late modernity. And with this short film you can now understand why.

The Sociological Detective: Unruly Youth This short film accompanies the Sociological Detective Simulation “We Have A Situation” you can explore in more detail here.


Risk: Ulrich Beck If you want the concept of Risk succinctly explained, who better to ask than the man behind the idea?

Risk Society Professor Brian Wynne (Lancaster University) provides a short introduction to Beck’s concept of Risk Society, including new qualities of risk, invisible and undetectable risks, universal and irreversible risks, crime and risk.

Reflexive Modernisation Professor Brian Wynne extends the discussion of Risk Society through the concept of reflexive modernisation and a range of related ideas – organised irresponsibility, human-generated risks, institutional alienation, sub-politics, new forms of modernity.

Macro and Micro Perspectives A two-part film looking at two very different forms of sociological perspective.


New Religious Movements Professor Eileen Barker outlines some basic characteristics of NRM’s, particularly those that have developed over the past 50 years.

The Kendal Project In this short interview filmed in 2009 Professor Linda Woodhead talks briefly about secularisation and post-secularisation and, at greater length, The Kendal Project. The film quality isn’t great – there’s an odd, occasionally shaky camera angle (someone probably forgot the tripod). They probably forgot to bring lighting as well because the film’s shot in poor natural light, so I’ve heavily desaturated it to compensate. This either gives the film an amateurish look or a feel that is satisfyingly arty…

Social Control

Get Back The Heartbeat A film about social control (probably) made by a French student director around 10 years ago.


Educational Achievement In this short (10 minute) interview, (recorded in 2009 in what looks and sounds like a cupboard somewhere…apologies for the less than pristine sound quality and video), Professor Becky Francis talks about her research into educational achievement. The film touches on a number of areas in the sociology of education that teachers and students will find useful – characteristics of high-achieving pupils, managing and maintaining identities, ducation and social policy, lads and ladettes, chinese pupils and achievement – pressures and processes.


The Sociological Detectives: Be On the Look Out for Short piece of film used in the latest Sociological Detectives Simulation on Non-Participant Observation. The film “observes” three classrooms.

Amoral Panics


Simulacra and Hyperreality

This is a video resource to accompany the Lesson Outline “Simulacra and Hyperreality“. It consists of 6 short clips that can be used as part of a lesson.

1. Mona Lisa – about 30 seconds of the painting

2. Iphone – 30 seconds of examples

3. Wild West – old Hollywood clips showing various aspects of “The Wild West” (gunfights, saloon brawls etc. (students might want to note that both black people and women are represented – if at all – in periphery roles…)

4. Disneyworld – a quick tour around the different “worlds”.

5. Wild West at Disneyland – the “Wild West Shows” at Disneyland are an example of “simulacra within simulacra”.

6. Real Food / Fictional Farms – short clip showing how supermarkets have created fictional farms to create the idea of “real food” that is actually sourced from a wide variety of (largely anonymous) global suppliers.    

Defining the Mass Media A short introduction to how we can define a mass medium.

Children and the Media – Part 1: Inventing Innocence The course of the 20th century has seen a number of moral panics focused on two areas; the media, in the shape of things like film, television and video and the susceptibility of “vulnerable groups” to media messages about sex and violence (among other things).

This series of films brings the two together, under the generic title “Children and the Media”, to explore the relationship between the media and moral panics through the eyes of a range of leading academics.

The first film in the series – Inventing Innocence – lays the groundwork for further films by looking briefly at how, over the past 200 years, the idea of children as a vulnerable social group was socially constructed. The film includes contributions from Prof. Chas. Critcher (UK), Prof. Catharine Lumby (Australia) and Dr. Charles Krinsky (North America).

Although the series focus is specifically the media and moral panics, the films are also useful for teachers and students looking for a different take on audience effects – particularly those models, such as the hypodermic syringe / magic bullet, that argue for direct and long-lasting media effects on susceptible audiences.

Children and the Media 2: Cinema – The Darkness on the Edge of Town The second part of our sprint through media and moral panics in the 20th century builds on the notion of childhood innocence established in Part 1 by linking ideas about age to the rise and development of cinema. In particular, Prof. Critcher outlines some of the forces – such as moral entrepreneurs / cultural guardians – and ideas behind the development of various forms of “soft censorship” through age classifications.

Children and the Media Part 3: Television – Adam Raised A Cain In the third instalment of our examination of the media and moral panics Prof. Chas Critcher looks at the role of television since the 1950’s. Here the focus is on various aspects of social and psychological harm – from anxieties about child socialisation and development to fears about copy-cat violence and exposure to sexually-explicit material.     


Countdown to Revision 6 top tips for successful revision.


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