Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 14 to 18
- Grade: 9 to 12
- Reading age: 0
"[The Groundwork Guides] are excellent books, mandatory for school libraries and the increasing body of young people prepared to take ownership of the situations and problems previous generations have left them." -- Globe and Mail
Most of us in liberal democratic countries think that we live under the rule of law. Governments make the rules, we live by them and the police enforce them if we try to break them. The Force of Law critically examines these assumptions.
Award-winning criminologist Mariana Valverde makes clear that while the law is usually regarded as the civilized, non-violent way to deal with harms and conflicts, violence is integral to law. After all, police are authorized to handcuff, manhandle, taser, and even kill people, and courts of law confine people to prison and, in some countries, order that they be put to death. Valverde shows that "proper" law is not always distinguishable from the rules imposed by various bodies of armed men. Worldwide, private security guards often act like police, but they serve their private clients, not the public at large. And publicly paid police officers spend much of their time managing information for other bureaucracies, instead of actually fighting crime or arresting criminals.
About the authors
MARIANA VALVERDE is a Professor at University of Toronto Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies, and a Fellow of the Royal society of Canada. Her fields of study are the legal regulation of sexuality, sociolegal theory, historical sociology, and urban governance and law. She has written eight books, co-edited four anthologies and over 45 articles. In 2016 she received the Kalven prize of the Law and Society Association, for her longstanding contribution to empirical socio-legal scholarship. In addition to scholarly publishing, Mariana also writes for magazines, newspapers, and online forums, mostly on public-private infrastructure partnerships but occasionally on other topics; she has been published in The Conversation and Spacing Magazine. She lives in Toronto.
Jane Springer is the author of Genocide, part of the Groundwork Guides series for which she is also the series editor. She is a consultant in international development and has lived and worked in Mozambique and India. She is the author of Listen to Us: The World's Working Children and translator of the Portuguese-language books Nest Egg and Tales from the Amazon. Jane Springer lives in Toronto.
Valverde sheds light on the poor choices afforded both civilians and police in impoverished or narcotic-producing regions.
Valverde challenges our assumptions about the rule of law and the reality of what police really spend their time doing.
School Library Journal
Other titles by Mariana Valverde
Smart Cities in Canada: Digital Dreams, Corporate Designs
Independent experts analyze often-controversial schemes from Nunavut to Montreal to Toronto's failed Sidewalk Labs waterfront scheme
Law and the "Sharing Economy"
Regulating Online Market Platforms
New Essays in Women's History