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Spatial Regulation, Dispersal, and the Aesthetics of the City: Conservation Officer Policing of Homeless People in Ottawa, Canada

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Abstract:  In this article, we examine the spatial regulation of homeless people by National Capital Commission (NCC) conservation officers in Canada's capital city, Ottawa. We explore NCC officer practices by analyzing occurrence reports obtained through access to information (ATI) requests and interview transcripts. We contend that policing of NCC parks is organized according to a logic of dispersal. Dispersal policing aims to preserve an aesthetic for public consumption and ceremonial nationalism, entails specific temporalities, and is actuated through a public/private policing network. We argue that “dispersal” more accurately conceptualizes the spatial regulation in this case compared with alternative concepts (ie banishment) and thus supplements existing typologies of spatial regulation. We conclude with a discussion of these typologies and of the worth of ATI for future research on urban policing and regulation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada; 2: Department of Sociology and Criminology, University of Windsor, Windsor, ON, Canada;

Publication date: 2012-06-01

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