Holly Campeau starting new position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of Alberta

Holly CampeauRecent graduate Holly Campeau will be starting a new position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta this fall. Holly completed her dissertation, Policing in unsettled times: An Analysis of Culture in the Police Organization in 2016 under the supervision of Ron Levi (supervisor), Candace Kruttschnitt and Josee Johnston.

Holly’s dissertation studied how police used culture to understand the changes in their workplace. The abstract of her dissertation is as follows:

This dissertation examines how actors within a public sector institution – a police organization – use culture to make sense of a shifting occupational landscape. Interviews with 100 police officers and field notes from 50 ride-along hours were collected over the course of 18 months in the police service of a medium-sized city. Rather than conceive “police culture” as an ideal-type of values and attitudes, this project engages with concepts from sociological literature on culture and organizations to re-conceptualize police culture as a “resource” officers deploy to navigate what can be risky work in a contentious organization. First, contrasting traditional cultural depictions of police officers as unremittingly mission-oriented and indivisible, findings reveal the fragility of officer solidarity and unwillingness to engage with risky situations. Expanding surveillance outside the reach of law enforcement (e.g. cellphone videos, social media, etc.) contribute to uncertainty as officers carry out their duties. Second, police engage with a combination of myths and generational scripts in ways that both defend and challenge the status quo in their organization. “Old-school” scripts sustain the prominence of paramilitarism, camaraderie and athleticism. And while “new-generation” scripts are mainly deployed ceremonially to signal legitimacy to external policing constituents, some officers also use them to express the importance of education, the banality of military mindsets, and the need for equitable practices to be implemented on a more routine basis. Finally, results show that police rely on jointly established understandings about their local community to both perform and justify their organization’s non-conformity with certain industry standards. Overall, insofar as change in policing is the objective in the current era of wavering public confidence and fiscal crisis, this study suggests that mere top-down policy reform is insufficient: organizational policy and actual practices are only loosely-linked and those charged with implementing a new course of action (i.e. senior officers) are often the staunchest supporters of non-change. Without a disruption to the lock-step hierarchical structure of the police organization, institutional reform is likely only to emerge generationally, as the most promising energy for transformative change rests among cohorts entering the occupation at a particularly unsettled time.

While here, Holly received the Dennis Magill prize for the best paper published on a Canadian topic and was also awarded both the CSA Best Student Paper Award and the ASA Culture section’s Richard A. Peterson Award for best student paper. At the University of Alberta, she will be teaching Introduction to Criminology as well as an advanced seminar on Crime and Public Policy, and expects to develop a Policing course for the department in the near future. Holly will expand her research on policing and organizational culture and will continue current projects on justice reform in partnership with the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs. Holly is also broadening her focus beyond local level policing to explore questions about the new economy of innovation in the criminal justice sector as practitioners and government officials seek new ways of defining and measuring community safety.


Congratulations to the 11 PhD graduates of 2016/17

Convocation at Con HallThis year, eleven of our PhD students successfully defended their dissertations and graduated with their doctorates. Follow the careers of our PhD graduates by perusing our PhD alumni page. Congratulations this year go to:

Salina Abji

Salina’s dissertation was Emerging Citizenships: Efforts to Address Violence against Non-Status Women in Toronto and she was supervised by Anna Korteweg (supervisor), Patricia Landolt, and Judith Taylor. Salina is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at Carleton University. Read more about Salina on her website or here.

Holly Campeau

Holly’s dissertation was Policing in unsettled times: An Analysis of Culture in the Police Organization. She was supervised by Ron Levi (supervisor), Candace Kruttschnitt, and Josée Johnston. Holly will start a new position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta this fall. Read more about Holly here.

Steven Cook

Steven’s dissertation was A Comparative Analysis of the Violent Victimization Experiences of Street and School Youth. He was supervised by Julian Tanner (supervisor), David Brownfield, and Scot Wortley (U of T Criminology). Steven is currently a lecturer in quantitative methods and criminology at Cardiff University.

Kim de Laat

Kim’s dissertation was Mesa-Level Influences on Creativity and her committee was Shyon Baumann (supervisor), Vanina Leschziner, and Damian Phillips (Columbia Business School).  Kim is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Gender + the Economy in the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto. Read more about Kim on her website.

Jennifer Elrick

Jennifer’s dissertation was Family/Class: State-Based Boundary Work around Immigration and National Identity in Germany and Canada Since 1955. She was supervised by Anna Korteweg (supervisor), Patricia Landolt, and Jeffrey Reitz. Jennifer is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at McGill University.

Nathan Innocente

Nathan’s dissertation was Organizational Risk and Mortgage Fraud. He was supervised by Sandy Welsh (supervisor), Ronit Dinovitzer, and Kelly Hannah-Moffat (U of T Criminology). He is currently an Assistant Professor (teaching stream) at the University of Toronto, Mississauga. Read more about Nathan here.

Emily Laxer

Emily wrote her dissertation on Democratic Struggles and the National Identity Formation: The Politics of Secularism in France and Quebec. She completed her degree under the supervision of Anna Korteweg (supervisor), Monica Boyd, and Erik Schneiderhan. Emily is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Diana Miller

Diana’s dissertation was titled Gendering Cultural Fields. She was supervised by Cynthia Cranford (supervisor), Vanina Leschziner, and Bonnie Erickson. Diana works as the Data Analysis Coordinator for York Region. Read more about Diana here.

Joanne Nowak

Joanne’s dissertation was Moving Beyond the Lone Skilled Migrant: Establishing a Social Model of Skilled Migration and Integration Through a Case Study of Ghanaian Nurses. She was supervised by Cynthia Cranford (supervisor), Patricia Landolt, and Monica Boyd. Joanne is the academic coordinator for the Blum Centre at the University of Californa, Santa Barbara.

Agata Piekosz

Agata wrote her dissertation on Polish Catholic Priests in Canada and Ireland: Migration, Leadership, and the Mobility of Strangers. She was supervised by Anna Korteweg and Y. Michal Bodemann (co-supervisor), and Judith Taylor. Agata is currently an instructor at King’s University College.

Siyue Tian

Siyue’s dissertation was Living Arrangements and Intergenerational Supports Among Immigrant and Canadian-born Seniors. She worked under the supervision of Monica Boyd (supervisor), Cynthia Cranford, and Markus Schafer. Siyue is currently an analyst with Statistics Canada.

Holly Campeau awarded Dennis Magill Canada Research Award


Congratulations to Ph.D. Candidate Holly Campeau, recipient of the 2016 The Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award. The Dennis William Magill Canada Research Award is awarded annually to a student in the Department of Sociology for a PhD dissertation or journal article of exceptional merit that focuses on an aspect of Canadian society. Preference is given to macro-sociological works.

Holly was awarded the honour based on her article, ‘Police culture’ at work: Making sense of police oversight, British Journal of Criminology (55: 2015) 669-87. Within police studies, ‘police culture’ is often represented as an “ideal-type” and depicted according to a series of values (e.g. conservatism, solidarity, machismo, mission, etc.). This article argues in favour of an alternative, more nuanced conceptualization of police ‘culture’ which draws on concepts from the sociology of culture. Police culture is viewed as a resource, which actors deploy within particular institutional constraints. Drawing on 100 interviews and participant observation in a police department, the analysis shows how officers negotiate meaning in an unsettled occupational environment prompted by heightened levels of police oversight. Two culture indicators are examined: solidarity and mission. Applying this lens, findings reveal that new accountability measures can lead to a weakened sense of officer solidarity and unwillingness to take on risky work. This article represents an explicit attempt to theorize police culture sociologically and invoke an adaptive framework for uncovering how actors use culture within a definable set of structuring conditions.

In awarding Holly the prize, The adjudicating committee wrote “Holly’s research helps us understand how, in a period of increased oversight, police officers are compelled to re-fashion the meaning of their work, using elements of institutional culture as symbolic raw material. The members of the committee were struck by Holly’s theoretical sophistication, the clarity of her exposition, the sensitivity with which she interpreted the data she collected from interviews of 100 police officers and participant observation in a police department, and her substantive contribution to her field of study.”