How criminology students see crime? From « naive representations » to « reasoned thinking » by deconstructing criminology through the lens of TV shows

 L. Grossrieder1*, S. Loup1, M. Jendly1, R. Voisard1, E. Sylvestre2

1 School of Criminal Justice, University of Lausanne
2 Teaching Support Centre, University of Lausanne

 *corresponding author:

Crime generates many representations in popular culture, influenced by media, literature, arts, movies and TV shows. Criminology students presumably also carry their own representations on crime, offenders and social reactions, as well as on the discipline itself, its field of inquiry and jobs. Our presentation focuses on the evolution of representations identified by students during a semester by using crime-related TV shows. To this purpose, 68 Master students were invited to analyse and discuss sequences from 6 TV shows with the software SWITCHcast. The students had to insert text and structured annotations during viewing of videos. Their evolution was evaluated on the same set of sequences at the beginning and at the end of this period of time. Our results show that students do not initially have misrepresentations but rather unclear conceptions on the topics at stake. In addition, it appears that they have less emotional reactions at the end of the program and that their learning experience, through this particular medium, have helped them to turn some kind of « naive representations » to « reasoned thinking ». These results lead to discuss new perspectives on education in criminology, as well as popular representations on crime.


Lionel Grossrieder is a research associate and a doctoral student in the School of Criminal Justice of Lausanne, Switzerland. He received his bachelor degree in psychology in 2009 and his master degree in criminology in 2011. His research interests include crime analysis, environmental criminology and forensic intelligence. He is currently involved in an interdisciplinary project on application of computational methods in crime analysis.