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Ideology and Public Policy

Ideology and Public Policy: The Case Against Pornography

Dany Lacombe
Copyright Date: 1988
Pages: 130
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv585
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  • Book Info
    Ideology and Public Policy
    Book Description:

    The study of pornography is used here for the first time to demonstrate the role of the state in manipulating 'social problems' through moral panic.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-0267-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-8)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 9-16)

    The debate over pornography, its effect, and its ideology is an important one in Canada today. In June 1983, Mark MacGuigan, then Justice Minister, created a committee, the Fraser Committee, which held cross-country hearings aimed at achieving national consensus on the issues of pornography and prostitution. But pornography, the subject matter of this study, is not a problem which has suddenly emerged in 1983. On the contrary, the issue has a long history in terms of the debate it has created, the disputes it has involved, and the philosophies it has implied. The debate was especially intense in Toronto, one...

  4. CHAPTER I Feminist Theories of Women’s Oppression
    (pp. 17-32)

    Before presenting the views of the interest groups involved in the debate over the issue of pornography, it is necessary to introduce the reader to the various ways the oppression of women in society has been theorised by feminists. Using the categories developed by Jaggar (1983) I will firstly present liberal feminism, followed by traditional marxism, radical feminism, and finally socialist feminism. The order of presentation is important here since it corresponds to one of increasing theoretical complexity.

    Liberalism is a political theory developed out of the philosophy of the Enlightenment which swept Europe in mid eighteen-century. Liberalism is also...

  5. CHAPTER II Pornography and the Law
    (pp. 33-46)

    Before exploring the contemporary problems posed by the obscenity law in Canada, it is necessary to understand previous attempts to control obscenity and how that control has changed over the years. Understanding the origin of the obscenity law is useful in explaining the evolution of the problem and why new considerations are required. The pornography of today poses a problem for society which is different in kind and dimension from the traditional common law concern with offensive publications.

    In English law, pornography was not conceived as sex-related but as sedition or blasphemy. For example, in 1577, the Stationers Company of...

  6. CHAPTER III Methodology
    (pp. 47-84)

    Before explaining the methodology chosen for identifying which interest groups involved in the debate over the issue of pornography would be included, a brief historical account of the events leading to the creation of the special commission on pornography and prostitution in 1983 and the court case of the Ontario Censor Board is required.

    The Canadian counterpart of Women Against Violence Against Women (WAVAW) was created in 1977 after an anti-rape march, sponsored by the Rape Crisis Center of Toronto. The group was composed of barely forty women, who were interested in finding out about relevant laws and institutions such...

  7. CHAPTER IV The Examination of the Report of the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution
    (pp. 85-98)

    The Fraser Committee, appointed to investigate the Canadian views on pornography and prostitution, presented its findings in February 1985, in two large volumes. The report provides useful information on the philosophical, social, and legal aspects of these issues and the problems they create. It suggests solutions stressing on various occasions the limitations of legal strategies, particularly the usage of the criminal law in eradicating these “social problems” responsible for the oppression of women. Indeed, referring to pornography and prostitution, the Fraser Committee affirms the complexity of these issues by stating in its preface that:

    In areas as complex as these...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 99-106)

    This study has tried to answer the renewed calls for criminologists to study criminal justice politics. As was stated in the introduction, Solomon (1980) urges detailed study of social problems in order to better understand policy making. Central to his argument is the idea that social science could be a “radical” tool in the hands of policy planners and criminologists, since it could be used to enlighten official politicians and the public. On the other hand, Taylor (1980), following the work of Hallet al(1979) on crime, ideology and the state, suggests a different way to understand policy making....

  9. Notes
    (pp. 107-114)
  10. Appendix
    (pp. 115-116)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 117-128)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 129-129)