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Unit 3: Whose Community is it Anyway? Communities as Contested Spaces

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University of Ottawa
Kate Fletcher

CRM 2310 Lecture Notes – Unit 3: Whose Community is it Anyway? Communities as Contested Spaces Wednesday January 22 2014 Whose Community Is It Anyway? Community as Contested Spaces Cultivating "Community" in Urban Spaces • Certain behaviour is "out of place" in public areas • We're only going to feel a sense of belonging/attachment to others is we all more or less behave in similar ways • Certain behaviour must be constrained in order for civility to flourish • Challenges cultivation of "community" (antisocial behaviour, uncivil, a nuisance) • Depending on where you live • The people who decide what behaviour is good for the cultivation of a community are the ones who have political and economic power Community as a Site of Struggle • Space ---> site of power • The people who govern spaces are those who have power • Tactics to govern people become tactic to govern spaces • If you govern spaces, you can therefore govern the people who live there • Changing the features of a space to influence who uses that space and how they use that space • Eg. Benches that don't allow homeless people to sleep there Whose Community? • David Garland's 2 competing discourses that are operating in contemporary society at the same time • Affect how we've come to define crime, criminality, and the role of the CJS 1. "Criminologies of the other": started to conceptualize suspect populations as "other" • Started to see crime as something that is perpetrated by people that are fundamentally different than us (others) • In order to prevent people from being victimized, the CJS must take strong action against these identifiable people (eg. Stricter laws, tougher penalties) • See the development of things such as mandatory minimum sentencing, three strikes laws (in the US) 2. "Criminologies of the self" Criminologies of the Other • Danger from "outside" - "stranger danger" • Inhibits our ability to create diverse communities • Stigmatized others • Characterized as parasitic, corrosive to society - not immediately dangerous, but they contribute little to nothing to the common pool of society that we all draw from • Their threat is slower than exceptional others but it exists nonetheless • Are in society but not operating alongside us, or contributing • Taking advantage of the rest of us • Eg. Homeless people, people on social assistance, etc • Exceptional others • Absolute outsiders, representing evil, extremely dangerous • The majority of the community share the least in common with these people and must keep the largest social distance • They are not "born of society" - don't come from the same place as us, do not share anything in common with us • Eg. Murderers, psychopaths Moral Framework of Homelessness • Homeless through circumstance • These individuals are innocent, have been forced into this situation • Usually use this concept to frame women and children who are homeless • Viewed as less of a threat and more as a survival strategy • Doesn't account for agency (people's ability to make choices) or the factors that constrain people's abilities to make choices • Homelessness as a lifestyle • These people are considered undeserving of help, guilty of wrongdoing, and complicit in their situation • We can see through their behaviour that they're making the choice to live this way • Start to see people not considered to have issues in their life and deserving of help, but as being worthy of criminalization and punishment • Viewed as punishable entities Types of Homelessness • There's a caricature of homelessness ("ugly") • Initiates laws that allow these people to be marginalized and criminalized • "Invisible poor" • Have a job, look nice, may not be able to tell they are homeless • Avoid stigma (don't get hassled, may get jobs more easily) • Preserves stereotype • Because we don't see them, our conceptions of homelessness don't change Social Death • Socially excluded - if you are a suspect individual • Deprived of recognition of the basic worth of being human • Lack social value • Take more than they give back • Lack money Indicative of your self-worth, and economic power (which eventually leads to social power) • Disenfranchised • Deprived of the rights of citizenship based on their inability to consume • See them as problematic - what choices have they made to get to this place • Stigmatized • • The bearers of a spoiled identity See these individuals only be virtue of their negative attributes (eg. Sex offenders) • Exceptions are always proof of the rule • Market and Moral Geography of the City • Individuals who are labeled stigmatized others occupy space where they are least controlled or monitored • Marginal spaces • Where you can sleep/hangout without being evicted or hassled • Prime spaces • Where you can possibly gain some subsistence income (a lot of traffic) • Eg. Panhandle • Tactical use of space • Figuring out where best to do certain things • Their movements will be increasingly governed in the city Civility Laws - how are they an example of Criminologies of the other? • Eg. Canada's safe streets law • Target forces of disorder/people who embody it (stigmatized others - the human form of disorder) • Gestures viewed as aggressive • Don't govern them explicitly, but govern the places they frequent in order to implicitly stop them from being there • Sometimes deserving of sympathy but requiring social control (because of their threat) • Displace these individuals to marginalized areas (decrease visibility) • Instructive function • To feel certain ways about certain types of people (those deemed to be problematic, parasitic, rather than just someone as disadvantaged and asking for money) • Conceptualize them as dangerous Monday January 27 2014 Class #6 Ontario Safe Streets Act (1999) • Solicitation in an aggressive manner prohibited • Request, in person, immediate provision of money or another thing of value • In any manner likely to cause a reasonable person to be concerned for his/her safety • Born out of an uproar over "squeegee kids" in Toronto • Aggressiveness is hard to define, so this law is basically making asking people for money illegal • Solicitation of a captive audience prohibited • ATM, telephone, toilet facility, public transit, taxi stand, parking lot, or in your vehicle • Disposal of certain dangerous things prohibited in outdoor public places • Broken glass, used condom, new or used hypodermic needle or syringe • Not limited to sidewalk, street, parking lot, swimming pool, beach, conservation area, park, playground,school grounds • Can include garbage cans • People who do not have private places to dispose of thes
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