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Sex and the Supreme Court: Obscenity and Indecency Laws in Canada

Sex and the Supreme Court: Obscenity and Indecency Laws in Canada

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Published by Fernwood Publishing
“Our analysis will demonstrate that the social demands for equality and civil rights with respect to sexual expression of the 1980s and 1990s of the various feminists and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered (GLBT) movements have been translated into obscenity and indecency jurisprudence by the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Labaye (2005) in a manner that re-brands liberalism to make it feminist and queer friendly.” (From the Introduction)

Canadian laws pertaining to pornography and bawdy houses were first developed during the Victorian era, when ”non-normative” sexualities were understood as a corruption of conservative morals and harmful to society as a whole. Tracing the socio-legal history of contemporary obscenity and indecency laws, Kramar and Jochelson contend that the law continues to function to protect society from harm. Today, rather than seeing harm to conservative values, the court sees harm to liberal political values. While reforms have been made, especially in light of feminist and queer challenges, Kramar and Jochelson use Foucault’s governmentality framework to show that the liberal harm strategy for governing obscenity and indecency continues to disguise power.

“Our analysis will demonstrate that the social demands for equality and civil rights with respect to sexual expression of the 1980s and 1990s of the various feminists and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered (GLBT) movements have been translated into obscenity and indecency jurisprudence by the Supreme Court decision in R. v. Labaye (2005) in a manner that re-brands liberalism to make it feminist and queer friendly.” (From the Introduction)

Canadian laws pertaining to pornography and bawdy houses were first developed during the Victorian era, when ”non-normative” sexualities were understood as a corruption of conservative morals and harmful to society as a whole. Tracing the socio-legal history of contemporary obscenity and indecency laws, Kramar and Jochelson contend that the law continues to function to protect society from harm. Today, rather than seeing harm to conservative values, the court sees harm to liberal political values. While reforms have been made, especially in light of feminist and queer challenges, Kramar and Jochelson use Foucault’s governmentality framework to show that the liberal harm strategy for governing obscenity and indecency continues to disguise power.

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Published by: Fernwood Publishing on Mar 08, 2011
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8
Chapter One
Theoretical Debates
Harm in the Context of Obscenityand Indecency Law in Canada



 
 
 

 
Theoretical Debates 9
 

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