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Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Hardback)
  • Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Hardback)

Everyday Law on the Street: City Governance in an Age of Diversity - Chicago Series in Law and Society (Hardback)

Hardback 272 Pages / Published: 22/03/2013
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Toronto prides itself on being "the world's most diverse city," and its officials seek to support this diversity through programs and policies designed to promote social inclusion. Yet this progressive vision of law often falls short in practice, limited by problems inherent in the political culture itself. In "Everyday Law on the Street", Mariana Valverde brings to light the often unexpected ways that the development and implementation of policies shape everyday urban life. Drawing on four years spent participating in council hearings and civic association meetings, and shadowing housing inspectors and law enforcement officials as they went about their day-to-day work, Valverde reveals a telling transformation between law on the books and law on the streets. She finds, for example, that some of the democratic governing mechanisms generally applauded - public meetings, for instance - actually create disadvantages for marginalized groups, whose members are less likely to attend or articulate their concerns. As a result, both officials and citizens fail to see problems outside the point of view of their own needs and neighborhood. Taking issue with Jane Jacobs and many others, Valverde ultimately argues that Toronto and other diverse cities must reevaluate their allegiance to strictly local solutions. If urban diversity is to be truly inclusive - of tenants as well as homeowners, and recent immigrants as well as longtime residents - cities must move beyond microlocal planning and embrace a more expansive, citywide approach to planning and regulation.

Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226921891
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 476 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm

Mariana Valverde has a remarkable gift for revealing the unexpected amidst the taken-for-granted. Here, she takes us deep into the little-understood--yet crucially important--world of Toronto's everyday urban law, governing taxi licenses, hot dog stands, garden weeds, and rooming houses. In so doing, she reveals the systematic ways in which urban law works against the social and cultural diversity that cities profess to embrace. A wonderfully and clearly written book, with a refreshing humor and wit, Everyday Law on the Street invites us to reimagine the city.
--Nicholas Blomley, Simon Fraser University
"Valverde draws attention to a crucial but often overlooked foundation of cities: the administrative legal structures that make them run. In her focus on the everyday law of the city, she joins powerful intellectuals across many disciplines, including law professors Gerald Frug and David Barron; sociologists John Logan, Harvey Molotch, and Mitch Duneier; geographer Nick Blomley; historian Hendrik Hartog; and anthropologist Sally Engle Merry. Until Valverde, however, none had crafted such a comprehensive picture. . . . Every reader will find something to identify with. Because of the ease and expertise with which it introduces readers to an understudied and valuable meeting of law and the city, Everyday Law on the Street would be a terrific book to assign in undergraduate and graduate classes."--City & Community
"[Everyday Law on the Streets] is best understood as the foundation for a new path at the intersection of urban and political sociology. . . . Scholars and students alike will find much to learn in this book, as it is the first (and hopefully not the last) to shine a light on the layered sociolegal infrastructure of urban America--which plays a significant and too often invisible role in frustrating and facilitating urban living and change. . . . While 'seeing like a state' has proven a useful window into the entanglement of citizenship, power, and space, Valverde develops and provides a provocative and innovative sociological and legal framework to view this nexus by 'seeing like a city.'"-- (05/06/2014)
Studies of urban communities rarely recognize the role of law, but here eminent sociolegal theorist Mariana Valverde turns her attention to the way laws from the local to the international shape urban life. This book challenges Jane Jacobs's idea that cities should be organized as small, self-governing villages, arguing instead that law is critical in dealing with the inequalities and exclusions of highly diverse cities. Ethnographically rich, readable, and engaging, this book is essential for understanding the contemporary city.
--Sally Engle Merry, New York University
"For readers interested in examinations of how law operates in the midst of social anxiety about demographic diversity, . . .Valverde deliver[s] in-depth analyses rich with ethnographic and historical detail. . . . In Valverde's contemporary urban context, diverse cities are urged to implement large scale city-wide planning that directly engages concerns with diversity in a race conscious fashion. [Everyday Law on the Streets] provides the sort of nuanced and substantive discussions of diversity that are sorely needed in public discourse today."-- (05/06/2014)

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