This thesis constructs a narrative that challenges our current understanding on hate crime, at least within a Canadian context. It questions the contention made by many authors that the idea of hate crime first appeared in the early 1980s. While this may be true with respect to terminology, the idea of criminal hatred – in terms of crimes based on bias – can be seen to date back to the 1960s and the debate on hate propaganda. Through repeated discussion of hate propaganda as a distinct concept in the House of Commons, and by claiming ownership of a number of diverse events in its name, the idea of criminal hatred gained an increasingly irreversible existence as something matter-of-fact. In 1970, legislation was enacted against hate propaganda. Criminal hatred moved from being a peripheral assertion to a self-evident statement by building itself up through an increasingly powerful network of legislative allies. To investigate this transformation, this thesis employs an analysis based upon actor-network theory. Actor-network theory is an approach that helps one understand how concepts come to be embraced through the mobilisation of allies. In essence, by following actors, it helps one comprehend the process of translation whereby certain assemblages ‘sum up’ heterogeneous coalitions of humans and non-humans to construct seemingly stable, rational, natural, and objective concepts. Actor-network theory helps one understand the movement and networks that need to be in place for the ‘new’ object of hate propaganda to emerge. This network managed to forge a connection that linked the idea of ‘hate’ to criminality. However, it appears this conceptualisation of criminal hatred is somewhat different from the object predominantly spoken of today in terms of hate crime. The threat imagined during the conceptualisation of hate propaganda was that hate material was not just offensive, it was capable of mounting an offensive. Hate crime, on the other hand, has a victim-centred focus of criminal hatred that concerns itself with criminal acts performed not based upon who the victim is but what the victim is. Yet both objects share a focus on criminal hatred as a form of criminal activity spurred on by bias. Both are advocated for by special interest organisations that represent minority groups. Both attempt to extend, strengthen and make durable the network against discrimination. However, what is meant now when we speak of criminal hate, is not what was always meant.
|Library and Archives Canada
|Udgivet - 2004