Holly Campeau

Assistant Professor

Photograph of Holly Campeau


PhD Sociology (University of Toronto)

MA Criminology & Sociolegal Studies (University of Toronto)

BA Criminology (University of Western Ontario)

Research and Teaching Areas

Research areas include:

  • Cultural Sociology
  • Sociology of Law
  • Policing; police culture; police-citizen interactions; police violence
  • Organizational Behaviour
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Social Inequality

Teaching areas include:

  • Criminology
  • Crime and Public Policy
  • Sociology of Policing
  • Social Problems
  • Deviance and Social Control
  • Social Institutions and Crime

Current Research

I specialize in the intersection between criminology, cultural sociology, and sociology of law. My research involves fieldwork and qualitative methods to examine the cultural structures and processes underlying law, policing and criminal justice. I am also a Senior Researcher with the Global Justice Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy at the University of Toronto, focusing on justice reform. The Global Justice Lab is a team of justice scholars with a diverse set of skills and areas of expertise who study justice systems under pressure and support organizations seeking insight.

I aim to shed light on “how culture works” in the broader field of law and criminal justice, as well as the system of relations among members and constituents of justice institutions. My doctoral dissertation (supported by SSHRC) specifically examines "police culture" and the impact of various dimensions of change surrounding the occupational landscape of law enforcement, including intensifying mechanisms for oversight, increasing pressure for accountability and transparency, and shifting officer demographics.

Recently, I turned my focus toward arrest encounters to unpack the “dual perspective” of police-citizen interactions through interviews with both frontline officers and individuals who are detained. I currently hold a SSHRC Insight Grant to expand this study into several cities across three provinces. I am also exploring questions about the new economy of innovation in the criminal justice sector as practitioners and representatives in government seek reform strategies in the face of problems with accountability and legitimacy.

Research Grants

2020-2025: SSHRC Insight Grant (Principal Investigator). “The Dual Perspective: Unpacking Police-Citizen Arrest Encounters.” $96,686

2020: Support for the Advancement of Scholarship Grant (Pilot study). View from the Top: Challenges and Innovations across Canada’s Policing Landscape.” $6,441

2018-2019: Killam Cornerstone Grant (Principle Investigator). “Examining Arrested Individuals’ Perceptions of Interactions with Police.” $33,618


Journal Articles

Levi, Ron, Holly Campeau and Todd Foglesong. (2022). Recognition Gaps and Economies of Worth in Police Encounters. American Journal of Cultural Sociology, 10(1): 87–109. 

Campeau, Holly, Ron Levi and Todd Foglesong. (2021). Policing, Recognition, and the Bind of Legal Cynicism. Social Problems, 68(3): 658-674.

Campeau, Holly. (2019). Institutional Myths and Generational Boundaries: Cultural Inertia in the Police Organization, Policing & Society, 29(1): 69-84.

Campeau, Holly and Ron Levi. (2019). Neoliberal Legality as Dual Process: Embeddedness, Courts and Crime Prevention in the United States, British Journal of Criminology, 59(2): 334-353.

Campeau, Holly. (2018). “The Right Way, the Wrong Way, and the Blueville Way”: Standards and Cultural Match in the Police Organization. The Sociological Quarterly, 59(4): 603-626.

Campeau, Holly. (2015). Police Culture at Work: Making Sense of Police Oversight. British Journal of Criminology, 55(4): 669-687.

Government Reports

Campeau, Holly. (2022). MCC Expert Report on Culture in Police Organizations: Definitions, Research Challenges. Prepared for The Joint Federal/Provincial Commission into the April 2020 Nova Scotia Mass Casualty. Document ID: COMM0061158

Foglesong, Todd, Ron Levi, Holly Campeau and Claire Wilmot. (2017). Experiences and Perceptions of the Cleveland Police Department: A Report for the Monitor, Motion Regarding Biennial Community Survey of Detained Arrestees.


2020: Podcast guest. “The policymaker’s path to defund the police.” Policy Options (with Institute for Research on Public Policy) https://policyoptions.irpp.org/authors/holly-campeau/

2020: Podcast guest. “July 9: This Week in Sociological Perspectives.” TWiSP, (with Professor Samuel R. Lucas, University of California-Berkeley) https://twispaudio.com/2020/07

2020: Interview. “What Does ‘Defund the Police’ Really Mean? Dig into this contentious call to action” New Trail Magazine (by Anna Holtby) https://www.ualberta.ca/newtrail/ideas/defund-the-police.html