An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936

An Exceptional Law: Section 98 and the Emergency State, 1919-1936

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By Dennis G. Molinaro
Canadian Social History Series
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
352 Pages
ISBN 9781442629585
Published Apr 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $32.95    $24.71
ISBN 9781442629578
Published Apr 2017
Online discount: 25%
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ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442629608
Published May 2017
Online discount: 24%
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During periods of intense conflict, either at home or abroad, governments enact emergency powers in order to exercise greater control over the society that they govern. The expectation though is that once the conflict is over, these emergency powers will be lifted.

An Exceptional Law showcases how the emergency law used to repress labour activism during the First World War became normalized with the creation of Section 98 of the Criminal Code, following the Winnipeg General Strike. Dennis G. Molinaro argues that the institutionalization of emergency law became intricately tied to constructing a national identity. Following a mass deportation campaign in the 1930s, Section 98 was repealed in 1936 and contributed to the formation of Canada’s first civil rights movement. Portions of it were used during the October Crisis and recently in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015. Building on the theoretical framework of Agamben, Molinaro advances our understanding of security as ideology and reveals the intricate and codependent relationship between state-formation, the construction of liberal society, and exclusionary practices.

Dennis G. Molinaro holds a PhD from the University of Toronto and his research focuses on the historical use of emergency powers and their effect on society. He is currently completing a second book on Canada's role in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance and it's covert Cold War wiretapping programs. He teaches at Trent University.

Introduction: The Exception

Chapter 1: For the Protection of People and State

Chapter 2: Defining Suspects

Chapter 3: The Trial

Chapter 4: Citizens of the World

Chapter 5: Outlaws

Chapter 6: Judgement

Conclusion: Towards a Real State of Exception


Notes and Bibliography

"This superb examination of Canada’s storm-tossed years between the wars proposes a fresh interpretation of the harshly repressive and sometimes lethal legislation designed to discipline immigrants, punish radicals, and shape public opinion. Twenty-first-century readers will encounter in its pages a haunting premonition of the insecurity state that, ever since 9/11, has made dissent difficult – yet all the more necessary. This book is an indispensable addition to our understanding of freedom and repression in twentieth-century Canada."

Ian McKay, Director of the Wilson Institute for Canadian History, McMaster University

"An Exceptional Law is an important addition to the scholarly literature on several subfields of Canadian history. Dennis G. Molinaro’s scholarship is excellent."

Jim Mochoruk, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, University of North Dakota

"An Exceptional Law: Section 98 & The Emergency State 1919-1936 is a very readable, incredibly well-researched study of Canada’s wartime-derived, but peacetime-continued sedition laws of early 20th century. But the book is of much more than historical interest. As they said in Battlestar Galactica: All this has happened before and will happen again. My copy is marked-up where I noted parallels to current immigration and anti-terror laws. … I highly recommend this book."

Craig Forcese, #Sundayscholar Pick, Twitter, Posted May 21, 2017