Toxic Criminology

Environment, Law and the State in Canada

Edited by Susan C. Boyd, Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies  

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Critical research, writing and advocacy by legal academics and practitioners, NGOs, indigenous peoples and eco-feminists has existed on a global scale since the 1960s, but not until the 1990s did criminologists begin to examine environmental crime in a more concerted way. This late entrance by criminologist has much to do with who is involved in environmental crime–namely upper strata, mostly “white” men who run corporations and state agencies and the perception of environmental crime as soft crime. There are “critical” criminologists who are attempting to enforce existing legislation and policies and/or promote public education. For these reformists, debates tend to centre around prospective strengths and weaknesses of criminal law, civil law and self-regulating and other methods of policing and protecting ecosystems. Other criminologists examine how the “toxic” or “criminogenic” nature of capitalism enables states to facilitate and perpetrate environmental harms with virtual impunity. Toxic Criminology is the work of an assemblage of academics, activists, politicians and legal practitioners, all of whom harbour a wide range of interests and involvements in the study of, and resistance against, environmental wrongdoing. Individually and collectively, the authors address theoretical, politico-economic, legal, cultural and human dimensions of crimes and harms against the Canadian environment.

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  • Introduction—“We all live in Bhopal:” Criminology Discovers Environmental Crime (Dorothy E. Chunn, Susan C. Boyd and Robert Menzies)
  • Economic Globalization and Canadian Environmental Restructuring: The Mill(ennium)-End Sale (Melody Hessing)
  • Place, Class and the Privatized Environment (Schrecker)
  • Capital, Environment and the Legacy of the Left (Corky Evans)
  • Aboriginal Resistance to the Abuse of their Natural Resources:  The Struggle for Trees and Water (Stuart Rush)
  • Frederick Street Revisited (Elizabeth May)
  • Canada’s Drinking Problem:  Walkerton, Water Contamination and Public Policy (Randy L. Christensen)


  • Susan C. Boyd

    Distinguished Professor, University of Victoria

    Susan C. Boyd is a scholar/activist and distinguished professor at the University of Victoria. She has authored several articles and books on drug issues, including Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada. She was a member of the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. She is a long-time activist who collaborates with groups that advocate for the end of drug prohibition and for the establishment of diverse services.

  • Dorothy E. Chunn

    Simon Fraser

    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.

  • Robert Menzies

    Simon Fraser

    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.

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