SOC323H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Judith Butler, Snow Removal, Sandwich Board
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Short Answer Questions
1) Discuss 5 legal components of the sidewalk (or 5 elements of the 'legal anatomy of the
sidewalk') as advanced by Valverde.
This is an example of the question about Valverde. Obviously its very long but its stuff pulled out
from the reading.
Valverde discusses 9 elements of the sidewalk, however I have chosen 6 elements that contribute
to the legal anatomy of the sidewalk. These 5 are: street food, begging, entertainment,
skateboarding, and snow removal.
To begin with street food, valverde discusses how the taking away of carts that sell hot dogs
every evening is municipal and costs a large amount of money each year. She discuses the
importance of licensing and that each license is site specific hence the vendor is not allowed to
move even a few feet along the sidewalk, even if that were due to weather conditions (too much
sun/rain). Plus, these street food carts are only limited to a handful of choices and the provincial
public health by law restricts those cart based vendors to hot dogs. Although there was an effort
to incorporate ethnic and healthy foods in these carts, health officials demanded that only food
that is already approved and commercialized be sold. This cut off opportunities to new comers in
canada who thought with a legal reform could sett up their own street food vending business.
Law is seen in the streets through ice cream trucks as well as they are prohibited to play their
truck music after dusk, even if there are no residences in the vincitiy.
Begging: Valverde explains that even begging is a regulated activity in toronto and else where in
ontario by the Safe Streets Act which was passed by the neoconservation provincial gov in the
late 1990s. The law prohibits begging near bank machines at the north east corner. Agreesive
panhandling is not allowed either. It also prohibits enterprising activities such as squeezing.
Using the sidewalk to rest: Valverde explains that although laying down or sleeping on the
sidewalk is not forbidden in the city of toronto, camping isn't allowed on sidewalks or in city
parks. It is already so difficult to sleep or even take short naps outdoors, that too without
protection or in cold weather seasons. Even sitting down on the sidewalk is seen as obstructing
pedestrian traffic. Local activists use the phrase "the criminalization of homelessness" for many
cities, but this doesn't necessarily apply to Toronto as loitering or begging isn't prohibited but its
definitely restricted by parks by laws and by site specific bylaws (city hall). The Trespass to
Property Act is what authorizes guards and police officers to move people who are sleeping in
privately owned spaces. Valverde claims that this act is more used to govern visibly indigent
people than actual criminalization.
Skateboarding: Toronto does not prohibit skateboarding in any legal code of general application,
however much ingenuity has been used to make skateboarding psychically impossible in the
streets of st.george. For example, the decorative benches are fitted to the ground for the sole
reason that skateboarders cannot access that space. Valverde claims that the metal bits can be
seen as coercive substitute for properly passed laws. She explains that althoug skateboarding is
not considered illegal, things such as the metal bits on the benches constitute to he governance of
skateboarders, ensuring that they do not use that area to skateboard.
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Snow removal: "Be nice, clear the ice" posters in Toronto indirectly address the compulsory
actions that owners and occupiers must take to shovel snow and remove ice from sidewalks that
abut their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. This shows that the law extracts labour from its
citizens and labels it as "Canadian niceness". Consequences for not cleaning the ice or snow
follow through if any pedestrians or customers injure themselves.
Sidewalk trees: Braverman's study suggest that entities placed in sidewalk planters or small holes
covered by grates is more than biological, it is a hybrid of vegetable matter and regulatory
material. Adminstrative law scholars call the placement of trees regulation rather than law. The
placement of trees, their depth of planting, and their location are considered technical standards
rather than law. However, Valverde claims that technical tree standards are part of the legal
apparatus that literally constructs the experience of walkings on the sidewalk.
2) Discuss the 'traffic code'. What are the implications of, what Blomley refers to as, this highly
-beggar has just as much right to be there than you
-you cannot impede on each other
-traffic goes in certain ways
-crowding cannot occur, shoveling
-encounter between actor and sandwich board has 2 competing interests
-everyone has a right to the streets
-keep the flow going
Implications of liberal geography
-Judith butler: San Fran had to become accessible to help ppl with wheelchairs
-Brooklyn didn’t try to reform anything
-certain areas get better treatments than certain areas (laws of the street)
-Judith as the beggar
3) Discuss what Ewick and Silbey mean by the capacity of the law and explain what it means in
relation to their typology of the common place of law
-law is in our everyday life
-ewick and silbey interview everyday life individuals
-the common place of the law is the culmination of the discussions, bringing together diverse threads that
preoccupied the seminar: power, ideology, resistance social practice and interpretation
-Those against the law - the have nots, see the law as a tool for prejudice and oppression. The law exists
to marginalize them because they lack resources to fight it - they evade or act against it because they
don't have the resources to act with it; the law is arbitrary in nature - it doesn't matter what the laws are,
they will serve whomever is in power and marginalize those without
Those before the law represent silence - they're not have nots but also not haves; law is external,
omniscient, these people don't really ask any questions and just accept law as it is. This is probably most
people - only noticing the law when it's brought to our attention or when it is absolutely necessary for
them to use it (ie. their safety is in jeopardy)
Those with the law - the haves, see the origins of law as a game that they can play to serve competitive
self interests; law is there for them to manipulate in order to achieve their goals and interests
4) From Akwasi's lecture, discuss representations of Black criminality and what is meant by
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