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Friday, November 23, 2012

Two legal history articles in December, 2012 issue of CHR

The table of contents for the upcoming issue of the Canadian Historical Review shows two articles with a legal history slant.

Dan Malleck of Brock University writes on "The Same as a Private Home? Social Clubs, Public Drinking, and Liquor Control in Ontario, 1934–1944" :
Along with regulating the sales of liquor in provincial stores, overseeing the manufacture of alcohol, and inspecting the public drinking establishments in the province, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario issued beverage licences to private clubs. This paper examines the challenges of regulating the activities of drinkers in semi-private spaces and asks how the lcbo applied the notion of public space to establishments that were not entirely public. The legislation permitting drinking in clubs appears to have been based upon a narrow idea of the elite social club. The administrators of the board quickly found that the residents of the province saw socialization in a variety of forms. In keeping with its regulatory activities in the public drinking establishments, the lcbo attempted to address individual challenges and problems based upon the unique characteristics of each club. It assessed club management, the type of clientele, and the activities of the club. It then evaluated whether certain transgressions or special dispensations would present a challenge to social order. In effect, the nuanced evaluation and careful application of the rules characterized the regulation of semi-private drinking in the province of Ontario. The article argues that, in contrast to Habermas's idea that the development of a public sphere resulted in freer public discussion and debate, in the lcbo regulatory activities, the term public implied an added responsibility to behave in certain constrained ways. At least when having a drink.

And Ruth Frager of McMaster and Carmela Patrias of Brock write on "Human Rights Activists and the Question of Sex Discrimination in Postwar Ontario":

This article examines the varied understandings of human rights in Ontario in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The article compares the social origins and implementation of Ontario's Fair Employment Practices Act – which combatted racist and religious discrimination – with Ontario's Female Employees Fair Remuneration Act – which mandated equal pay for women who did the same work as men. Although a few feminists called for the Fair Employment Practices Act to prohibit sex discrimination as well, their pleas fell mainly on deaf ears in this period. Men and women who fought against racist injustice were frequently unaware of gender injustice, for they, like so many others, subscribed to the deeply embedded ideology of the family wage. Conversely, some of the most outspoken advocates of women's rights were unconscious of – or chose to ignore – racism. At the same time, some of the most committed advocates of equal pay for equal work actually reinforced certain conventional assumptions about men's gender privilege at work and at home. Moreover, while the enforcement of both acts was constrained by the conciliatory framework embedded within them, the government officials who were charged with applying both acts interpreted the equal pay act quite narrowly and were significantly more diligent in tackling racist and religious employment discrimination.

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