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Governing canal life


Journal of Law and Society

Published online on


["Journal of Law and Society, EarlyView. ", "\nAbstract\nThis article focuses on the governance of canals in England and Wales. The Canal & River Trust (CRT), the owner and manager of the waterways, has a statutory responsibility to grant ‘certificates’ or licences. The licence constructs a category called ‘continuous cruisers’ who live aboard their boat. Drawing on a sample of interviews with ‘continuous cruiser liveaboards’ (CCLs), we discuss how their governance by the CRT has gradually encroached on their everyday lives, leading them to reconsider their lives on the canal. We illustrate this through exploring how the CRT translated obscure legislation to make it legible through techniques of simplification, but did so in a way that had problematic effects on CCLs; and how apparently enabling and constraining regulation operates, paradoxically, in contradictory ways, both significantly affecting CCLs’ everyday lives. At heart, there is a simple story here of a nomadic way of life that is of relatively recent vintage but that is being (or perceived as being) sedentarized.\n"]