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Transformative Illegality: How Condoms ‘Became Legal’ In Ireland, 1990-1993

Cloatre, Emilie, Enright, Mairead (2018) Transformative Illegality: How Condoms ‘Became Legal’ In Ireland, 1990-1993. Feminist Legal Studies, 26 (3). ISSN 0966-3622. (doi:10.1007/s10691-018-9392-1) (KAR id:69887)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs10691-018-9392-1

Abstract

This paper examines Irish campaigns for condom access in the early 1990’s. Against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, activists campaigned against a law which would not allow condoms to be sold from ordinary commercial spaces or vending machines, and restricted sale to young people. Advancing a conception of ‘transformative illegality’, we show that illegal action was fundamental to the eventual legalisation of commercial condom sale. However, rather than foregrounding illegal condom sale as a mode of spectacular direct action, we show that tactics of illegal sale in the 1990s built on twenty years of everyday illegal sale within the Irish family planning movement. Everyday illegal sale was a long-term world-making practice, which gradually transformed condoms’ legal meanings, eventually enabling new forms of provocative and irreverent protest. Condoms ‘became legal’ when the state recognised modes of condom sale, gradually built up over many years and publicised in direct action and in the courts.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10691-018-9392-1
Uncontrolled keywords: Activism, condoms, contraceptives, family planning, illegality, Ireland, law and social movements
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Depositing User: Emilie Cloatre
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2018 11:20 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 13:59 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/69887 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Cloatre, Emilie: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1773-7645
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