Processes and Power
Introduction to Legal Studies II: Processes and Power
ASSIGNMENT ONE: Reading pg 95-105
Central to Canadian law is the principle of the ‘rule of law’, which holds that everyone is equal before the law. While this principle may sound good in theory, it appears that much is lost in the trickle down from theory to practice.
For this assignment, read the article ‘Understanding Over-representation’ in ‘Introduction to Legal Studies, Processes and Power’, pp.34-40, and summarize (1) the authors’ discussions of how social and economic inequality may explain over-representation of racialized people in the criminal justice system, and (2) how differential enforcement of law may impact who is caught and consequenced for engaging in criminal or antisocial activities. Do you agree or disagree with the authors’ arguments, and if so, why? Are there current events, such as the Black Lives Matter movement or growing awareness of Indigenous over-representation, that can be explained (or not) by the author’s arguments?
In composing your critical summary, be sure to:
• Summarize the three elements of social and economic inequality as explanations for over-representation (6 marks)
• Summarize how patterns of policing and enforcement, as well as police discretion, may explain over-representation (6 marks)
• provide ‘grounded’ (meaning ‘evidence-based) opinions about these explanations whereby your agreement or disagreement with the author’s positions are informed by current events (4 marks)
• provide full references for your statements and your opinions using the McGill referencing style (see the Law and Legal Studies style sheet on Department’s webpage) (2 marks)
• proof read your paper and ensure it is free from spelling or grammatical errors and is written in an appropriately scholarly style (2 marks)
Your paper should be no more than 3 double-spaced pages in length and will be assessed out of a po