Major Papers


prohibition, Harry Low, white-collar crime


In the Windsor-Detroit borderland, the period between 1900 and 1933 was characterized by the nation-state’s increasing legislative ability to enact interventionist measures to produce a regulated border. While the criminalization of alcohol in 1916 and 1920 by both the Canadian and U.S. governments respectively, enabled policy-makers to establish a transnational boundary, its implementation resulted in the production of legal asymmetries which forced the expansion and integration of the illicit economy into legitimate society through organizational actors and their respective enterprises.

Employing Chris M. Smith and Andrew V. Papachristos concept of multiplex ties in criminal organizations in conjunction with Willem van Schendel’s theory of illicit flows in borderlands, the paper seeks to reconstruct Harry Low’s Windsor-based organized crime network to determine how his syndicate employed multiplexity as an operational mechanism to circumvent the newly defined legislative boundaries between licit and illicit to make products flow during prohibition. By analyzing how the growth of organized crime was imbricated in the state process to control the flow of goods and people in the borderland; therefore, undermines the presentation of the Windsor-Detroit border as a static reciprocal relationship in which the illicit economy operated during the first third of the 20th century.

Primary Advisor

Dr. Guillaume Teasdale

Program Reader

Dr. Miriam Wright

Degree Name

Master of Arts



Document Type

Major Research Paper

Convocation Year