Mounties, Moose, and Moonshine: The Patterns and Context of Outport Crime
Three different types of 'crime' are examined in this comprehensive study of criminal behaviour and law enforcement in two small Newfoundland fishing villages. The 'crimes' include acts deemed criminal by the rules and regulations of the state but not necessarily by local sentiment and acts that violate local norms but are not criminalized by the state. The descriptions of criminal activity and community sentiment are based on almost a decade of participant observation. Because the outports are so different from urban, industrial, capitalistic domains typically studied by those interested in crime, the study relates the unique expressions of outport criminal behaviour to patterns of settlement, developments in the fishery, the history of law enforcement, and cultural change.
Norman Okihiro looks at crime arising from economic subsistence behaviours – hunting, gathering, and domestic production activities that have long been supported or tolerated in the outports. These include big-game poaching and the production and consumption of moonshine. These traditional activities are of particular interest because they have been subject to increasing regulation by the state, a situation that has markedly affected the way participants tailor their behaviour.
Okihiro also looks at such conventional crimes as assault, theft, and domestic violence. The incidence of and behavioural patterns associated with these interpersonal crimes in the outports he finds to be the result of cultural contraints and the effective informal mechanisms of social control found in the outports.
The third type of crime involves exploitative behaviour that stems from the historical and continuing state of economic vulnerability, impoverishment, and powerlessness of most outport residents. He describes the processes and tactics used by fish-plant operators, merchants, police, and outside professionals to exploit outport inequalities in power or influence, as well as the structural and cultural bases of continued tolerance of exploitation among the residents themselves.
Okihiro concludes with an examination of the effect of the unprecedented collapse of the inshore fishery and the impact of subsequent government adjustment and conservation policies on the outport way of life, paying special attention to current and likely future patterns of crime and civil disorder, and offers recommendations for enlightened government policies.
- Series: Heritage
- World Rights
- Page Count: 190 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.6in x 9.0in
Norman Okihro is Associate Professor of Sociology, Mount Saint Vincent University.
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