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Law General

Regulating Lives

Historical Essays on the State, Society, the Individual, and the Law

edited by Robert Menzies & Dorothy E. Chunn

UBC Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2007
General, Legal History
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Oct 2007
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  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2002
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2003
    List Price

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This book examines Canadian experiences of social control, moral regulation, and governmentality during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Informed by the wealth of theoretical and historical writings that have recently emerged on these subjects, the contributors explore diverse state, social, legal, and human encounters with the regulation of lives in British Columbia and Canadian history. Incest in the criminal courts, racial-ethnic dimensions of alcohol regulation, public health initiatives around venereal disease, and the seizure and indoctrination of Doukhobor children, among other issues, are examined in these nine original essays.

About the authors


Dr. Robert Menzies, Professor of Sociology, received his B.A. in Psychology from York University, and his M.A. in Criminology and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Dr. Menzies has taught at SFU since 1982, and recently spent a term as J.S. Woodsworth Resident Scholar in the Humanities. He is also an Associate Member of the Department of History. Dr. Menzies is a former recipient of the SFU Excellence in Teaching Award. His current projects include an in-progress book on the cultural history of ‘criminal insanity’; an inquiry into the encounters of racialized people with early 20th-century psychiatry; a study of eugenics and sterilization law in British Columbia; and, with colleagues across the country, the development of a research and education website on the history of madness in Canada.


Robert Menzies' profile page


Dorothy E. Chunn, Professor of Sociology, received her B.A. in English and History from the University of British Columbia and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Her research and publications are concentrated primarily in the area of feminist socio-legal studies. Recent research projects have focused on feminism, law, and social change in Canada since the 1960s; poor women’s experiences of health and housing; and the reform of Canadian child custody law.


Dorothy E. Chunn's profile page

Editorial Reviews

I hope too that it will be widely read on both sides of the Atlantic, both as containing interesting and important history and as inviting debate on the relationship between the data of historical experience and the concepts around which those data are arranged. I am glad that I read it.

Journal of Law and Society, Sept 2003

This book will be of great interest to those intrigued by legal history and, more specifically, the role the law has played in constructing people’s lives, perceptions and experiences.

Saskatchewan Law Review, Vol. 66

John McLaren’s study of the seizure and indoctrination of Sons of Freedom children 1950-60 ... is a masterpiece that examines the history of the Sons’ attempt to keep their children out of public schools and preserve their unique way of life. Having a firm foot on the ground and in local, provincial, and federal sources, McLaren’s work is a model of legal-historical research and writing. This collection could not be more complete ... This is a model study of how local history can inform our past and the making of public policy in the future.

Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 18

... ably illustrates how thoughtful questions and the willingness to pose such queries will, more often than not, steer engaged inquiries in wonderfully creative, unexpected, and intriguing directions ... And thus, if we can safely take Regulating Lives as an indication of the work to follow, the new Law and Society series from UBC Press will be invaluable.

The Canadian Historical Review, 84:4, December 2003

Other titles by Robert Menzies

Other titles by Dorothy E. Chunn