Legal Geography.docx

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Published on 18 Apr 2013
Department
Course
1
Official Exam: Tuesday, April 16th 7pm to 9pm Tait McK
enzie (East)
Review: April 2nd
Study guide posted on moodle March 26
Exam is cumulative, with emphasis on the second half of the course
Vagrancy acts **
Legal Geography: Policing Poverty through the Regulation of Public Space
What is the purpose of criminal law?
Establish rules, borders, behaviours, protect society
Law of containment prevent people from doing wrong things
What do we believe?
Who does it apply to?
The Dangerous Poor:
Marcus Aurelius: “poverty is the mother of crime”
If you let the poor do anything, they will keep committing crimes of all sorts
common prejudice the idea that the poor constitute the criminal class which is
why the poor were denied voting rights scared they would overjourn the
government
Suppress poor by denying vote and their ability to participate in political sphere
People make the kind of laws that suit them
Old prejudice: the poor are a dangerous lot who will stoop to criminal acts if given
the opportunity
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Governance Question: How do you contain, control or neutralize the danger this
class of people represents?
Law and „Equality‟:
Anatole France: “The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor
to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread”
Trying to say: the law is so equal that they forbid both the rich and the poor
to steal, sleep under bridges the law is written neutrally and applies to
everyone but it actually just targets the poor
Liberal Notion of Justice: we must all be treated equally before the law
Law doesn‟t really apply the same way to everyone – the letter of the law is how the
law reads, but the spirit of the law is who the law applies to, who is effected
Form of discrimination with those who do not have the power
In 1970 more poor people in Toronto
The Rule of Law:
Distinction between the FORMAL side of the law (how the law reads) and it‟s
ACTUAL impact/purpose
Urban Space: Physical spaces tell us who it is supposed to be used for
Benches prevent homeless people from sleeping on them by being uncomfortable
cannot target a law to prevent them from entering public space, but you CAN
redesign the benches
Laws regulating the use of space signify function of space + citizenship
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Citizenship in the city urban subjectivity
Signify what you are meant to do in a particular space i.e. meant to sit on
benches, meant to line up
Defines who uses a space and why
History of Vagrancy Law
Tell us us volumes about the changing conception of urban citizenship
Find out who they are targeting through evolution of the change
Dictionary Definition of Vagrant: someone who is both homeless and jobless and
earns a living by begging
Who is poor, who is designed to be poor, and how we are supposed to treat
them
1869: 1st domestic Vagrancy Act inherited a lot of it from Britain
In 19th century British law vagrants were divided people into 3 classes: an idle or
disorderly person, a rogue and vagabond, and an incorrigible rogue (worst
someone who could not possibly change)
Exception: the deserving poor: the impotent poor, the lame and disabled, the
sick, disbanded soldiers and university scholars
2nd act Canadian Criminal Code (1892): Personhood was criminalized
Statutory definition (law past by parliament) of vagrant:
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