Committing Sociology (of Law): The Autonomy of Law in Canada's 'War on Terror'

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Silva, Derek




Critical sociologists often argue that post-2001 counterterrorism policies, which depend on extraordinary powers and various executive provisions, are the ultimate example of sovereign power’s victory over the rule of law. Such opprobrium often ignores the empirical study of legal communications in lieu of policy documents and political discourses. As such, this thesis advocates for an analysis of legal communications in the context of Canada’s ‘war on terror’. The aim is to provide an alternative sociology of anti-terrorism law by engaging with a theoretical perspective often overlooked in
sociology: Niklas Luhmann’s social systems theory. Through an analysis of Supreme Court of Canada decisions, this thesis examines the impact of anti-terror legislation on the autonomy of law. It is argued that while the system of law is always ‘endangered’ by threats from the outside, law’s creative maintenance of anti-terror legislation can be read as an example of the reinforcement of law’s autonomy.


Criminology and Penology
Sociology - Theory and Methods




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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