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Based on extensive fieldwork conducted in five Canadian cities between 2008 and 2011, this article proposes an analysis of the different representations and discourses held by judges and prosecutors with respect to homelessness and in particular, with respect to the legitimacy of using the criminal justice system to deal with homelessness. Relying on such judicial representations and discourses, the article presents three possible configurations or models of doing justice. Using Bourdieu’s theory of symbolic violence, it ultimately addresses the issue of how the criminal justice system succeeds in maintaining its authority and hegemony as a conflict resolution system as well as its role in reproducing social inequalities in a neoliberal state.


  • hegemony of the criminal justice system
  • judicial representations
  • judicialization of social conflicts
  • justice models
  • legitimating discourses
  • Canada
Marie-Ève Sylvestre
Céline Bellot
Catherine Chesnay
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
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