New Book Co-edited by Prof. George Pavlich Explores How People Are Criminalized

What processes create entryways to the criminal justice system?

Helen Metella - 29 August 2019

Professor George Pavlich, the Canada Research Chair in Social Theory, Culture and Law at the University of Alberta, has co-edited a significant new book on criminal justice.

Entryways to Criminal Justice: Accusation and Criminalization in Canada (University of Alberta Press) is a wide-reaching volume that asks how and why people come to be categorized as "criminals."

It analyzes how societies decide whom to criminalize and what it means to accuse someone of being an offender. Its chapters, written by leading Canadian scholars, explore the processes that place people in contact with the law by viewing them through social, historical, cultural and political perspectives.

Pavlich notes that, "By focusing attention on how people are criminally accused and thereby enter criminalizing processes, this edited collection suggests ways to limit the use of criminal justice. It also opens the way to governing social harm through other, less punishment- orientated, measures."

The authors look at often-overlooked practices that admit people to the criminal justice system, including rituals, patterns and mechanisms of accusation.

Co-edited with Matthew P. Unger, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, the book includes contributions from each of the editors as well as 10 other Canadian legal scholars. The book was recently launched at the Drawn and Quarterly Bookshop in Montreal.

Its intended audience includes scholars, students and policy-makers in the fields of socio-legal studies, sociology, criminology, law and society, and postcolonial legal studies.