Mariana Valverde
University of Toronto

Mariana Valverde’s main interests are the legal regulation of sexuality, sociolegal theory, and urban governance and law, studied both historically and in the present. Her first book was Sex, power, and pleasure (1985), an intervention in the feminist ‘sex debates’. This was written while working in community newspapers and teaching part-time, as was the next book, The age of light, soap, and water: moral reform in English Canada 1880s-1920s (1991; second edition 2009). Subsequent sole-authored books include Diseases of the will: alcohol and the dilemmas of freedom (1998), co-winner of the Herbert Jacobs prize of the LSA; Law’s dream of a common knowledge (2003); Law and order: signs, meanings, myths (2006); and Everyday law on the street: city governance in an age of diversity (2012).
She has co-edited four anthologies and published over 40 articles, mostly sole-authored, in journals ranging from Law and Society Review to Social History and Victorian Studies. Currently she is chief editor of the Canadian Journal of Law and Society and director of the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies at the University of Toronto. She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006. Routledge will be publishing her next book, tentatively entitled Chronotopes of law: jurisdiction and scale in legal technologies, but she is also working on two projects: a historical sociology of the use of law to draw lines between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ neighbourhoods, and a contemporary study (with several colleagues) of the use of public-private partnerships in local governance.

valverde award
Professor Valverde received the 2013 Herbert Jacob Book Award

A beautifully written and ingenious exploration of the day-to-day, on-the-ground enforcement of municipal regulations—and, hence, urban governance—in Toronto. The topics are wide-ranging and include affordable housing and land use issues, the regulation of street-food vendors, and the taxi permit system, among others. It is an excellent empirical study of what law and society scholars call ‘law in action’ and the various and often unpredictable ways such law veers from the ostensible intentions of those who write the law in the books.