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Lecture 1

SOC323H5 Lecture 1: Lecture 1.docx


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC323H5
Professor
Zachary Levinsky
Lecture
1

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Some questions the course will consider:
What is the power of law? Laws power isn’t just about the state
What does it mean to say that the rule of law is mythologized? Law may not always get
things right but eventually it will work out, rule of law may not always do the right thing
but will strive towards it.
How can we expand our understanding of what “the law” entails? Law exist in places we
did not think we would find it. People’s perception of the law changes.
What are some different ways of exploring how the law works or does not work? Will
look at inquiries, geography of law and society…will start to see that law and geography
itself is an interdisciplinary field
- who gets silenced or marginalized through the law? How does the law (in being true
and objective) marginalize society?
- will see the idea of marginality and silence throughout entire course
Can the law be used to address marginality? Smarter lawyers will solve all these issues
of marginality.
Marginality
Implies something different from saying people are oppressed and re-pressed.
Suggesting that they lack agency, hold less power or powerful roles in society. Will see
that the people who lack power show agency through the law. Ex. native Canadians will
use the law to benefit them. They can use certain things, they show agency
Idea of marginality tells us where we place these groups (in the margins). Placing these
groups in the margins tell us something about our identity (Western British Colombian,
White European) suggest that people we push to the margins through laws tell us what
we value and what we value in terms of our nation and individual identity. We put things
in the margins that should be in the margin ex. murderers, pedophiles. However, some
people we put in the margins probably shouldn’t be there like Aboriginals which suggest
that they don’t have agency but they do
The Law
The State – i.e. Criminal Code
Embodied in institutions (police, CSC)
Lower regulation (liquor licensing) areas that impact your life more frequently
As “everywhere” (signs, plagiarism)
‘on the books’ vs ‘in action’ (marijuana) books might say Canada is very anti-marijuana
but find that people not really fined for breaking this law
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