Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds

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370 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
November 2014
Print ISBN: 9780889615168


Western feminists have long treated the rule of law as an essential ingredient of social justice; however, as the contributors to this collection remind us, meaningful justice remains out of reach for many women and racialized minorities precisely because the law turns a blind eye to the inequities that structure their daily lives. In fourteen chapters that open vital debates about the erosion of the welfare state and the media’s complicity in concealing political injustice, Within the Confines details the brutal ironies of a society that criminalizes the vulnerable while absolving the elite.

Distinctive in its focus on Canada, the book traces the linkages among racial, ethnic, sexual, and economic vulnerability and reveals the inadequacies of legislative approaches to socio-historical problems such as drug trafficking, homelessness, infanticide, and the legacies of settler colonial violence. In accessible prose, the authors dismantle the myths behind topics that are often sensationalized in the media—pornography, single motherhood, sex work, filicide, gangs, domestic abuse, prison conditions, HIV nondisclosure—and present alternative arguments that expose the justice system’s role in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. What emerges is a poignant challenge to the neoliberal fable that women and minorities in Western democracies now enjoy full equality and an urgent call to action for those who seek to shift institutional norms in more equitable directions.

A valuable resource for a wide range of fields, including criminology, sociology, social anthropology, gender studies, political science, social work, and legal history, this multidisciplinary volume offers a fresh perspective on the disturbingly predictable judgments that criminalized women face in Canada.

Table of Contents


Part 1: Institutional and Intersectional Oppressions
Chapter 1: Inalienable, Universal, and the Right to Punish: Women, Prison, and Practices of Freedom, Vicki Chartrand
Chapter 2: Resisting Colonial Violence(s) Together: Stories of Loss, Renewal, and Friendship from Algonquin Territory, Colleen Cardinal and Kristen Gilchrist
Chapter 3: “I Would Like Us to Unite and Fight for Our Rights Together Because We Haven’t Been Able to Do It Alone”: Women’s Homelessness, Disenfranchisement, and Self-Determination, Emily K. Paradis
Chapter 4: Women, Drugs, and the Law, Rebecca Jesseman and Florence Kellner
Chapter 5: Sentencing Aboriginal Women to Prison, Gillian Balfour

Part 2: Facets of Families, Motherhood, and Violence
Chapter 6: Agency and Choice: Gendered Constructions of Victim Worthiness in Domestic Violence Court, Holly Johnson and Ashley McConnell
Chapter 7: “If I Can’t Have You, No One Can,” and Other Gendered Constructions of Criminal Harassment, Sheryl C. Fabian
Chapter 8: Peddling the Margins of Gender-Based Violence: Canadian Media Coverage of Honour Killings, Mythili Rajiva and Amar Khoday
Chapter 9: Unwanted Motherhood and the Canadian Law of Infanticide, Kirsten Kramar
Chapter 10: Women and Child Homicide: Exploring the Role of Stereotypes about Gender, Race, and Poverty in Contemporary Canadian Cases, Emma Cunliffe

Part 3: Sex and the Social Context
Chapter 11: A Chip Off the Old (Ice) Block? Women-Led Families, Sperm Donors, and Family Law, Angela Cameron
Chapter 12: Dangerous Liaisons, a Tale of Two Cases: Constructing Women Accused of HIV/AIDS Nondisclosure as Threats to the (Inter)national Body Politic, Jennifer M. Kilty
Chapter 13: “Flattening Our Opposition”: Neoliberal Governance and the (De)regulation of Adult Pornography in Canada, Camilla A. Sears
Chapter 14: Legal Moralism, Feminist Rhetoric, and the Criminalization of Consensual Sex in Canada, Stacey Hannem and Chris Bruckert

Contributor Biographies


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