Programme

Globalization, Media and Adult/Sexual Content:
Challenges to Regulation and Research

Athens 2008

 

Co-organisers:

Faculty of Communications and Mass Media,
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Centre for International Communications Research,
Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

Institute of Audiovisual Media (IOM), Greece

and

Supported by The British Academy, UK

Monday 29 -Tuesday 30 September 2008

 

 

PROGRAMME

 

Conference website: http://sgsei.wordpress.com/


 

Monday 29.09.08

17.00 -17.30 Registration

17.30 -18.00 Welcome note

Introduction to the project, network and aims of the symposium

Katharine Sarikakis (Leeds, UK) Liza Tsaliki (NKU Athens, Greece)

18.00 – 20.00: What we know, What we need to know:
network panel and plenary discussion

Revisiting mediations of sex: The global industrial complex, policy and knowledge
Dr Katharine Sarikakis, University of Leeds, UK

 

Un-Covering Bodies on Arab Satellite Channels: The Failure of the Arab Enlightenment Project and the Rise of Pseudo-Liberalism

Dr Salam Al-Mahadin, Petra University Jordan

 

Villains, victims and heroes: The representation of pornography in contemporary Greek press
Dr Liza Tsaliki and Despina Chronaki, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

 

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian media

Madalina Bodea, University of Bucharest,Romania

 

Law, pornography, and citizenship in Canada since 1987

Prof Alison Beale, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC; Dr Rebecca Sullivan, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada

 

The Political Economy of Pornography: A Network Analysis
Dr Jennifer A. Johnson, Virginia Commonwealth University, USA

 

Everyday Pornographies: Pornification and Commercial Sex
Dr Karen Boyle, University of Glasgow, UK

 

A HyperLink Network Analysis of the UK Porn Industry

Steven McDermott, University of Leeds, UK

20.00 – 22.00: Reception (buffet dinner and bar)


Tuesday 30.09.08

9.00 – 9.30: registration, coffee

 

9.30 – 9.45 Why Here, Why Now? Introductory notes by
Mr. Rodolphos Moronis, President of the Institute of Audiovisual Media (IOM),

Prof. Stelios Papathanassopoulos, Head of Faculty of Communication and Mass Media, University of Athens

 

Introduction to the day’s presentations
Dr Katharine Sarikakis and Dr Liza Tsaliki

 

9.45 -11.15 THE Global Context of the Sex Industry

Chair: Dr Katharine Sarikakis

Encouraging sexual exploitation? The licensing of lap dancing clubs in the UK
Prof. Phil Hubbard, Loughborough University, UK

Anti-Trafficking Campaign and Female Sex Workers in Urban China
Dr Tiantian Zheng, State University of New York, Cortland, USA

Gender, sexuality and boundary crisis: A critical approach to sex-trafficking
Dr. Liopi Abatzi, University of Athens, Greece

 

No “Pretty Woman”: The Politics of the Trafficked Victim
Aashika Damodar, University of California, Berkeley, USA

 

11.15 -11.30: coffee break

11.30 -13.00 the Political Economy of ‘Sexy’

 

Chair: Dr Jennifer Johnson

Internet Pornography: Constituting proletarianization
Dr Marcus Breen, Northeastern University, Boston, USA

 

The development of mass market pornography – the case of Swedish porn magazines 1950-2000
Klara Arnberg, Umeå University, Sweden

 

Buying into Sexy: Preteen Girls and Consumer Capitalism in the XXI Century
Lilia Goldfarb, Concordia University and YWCA Montreal Canada


DOCUMENTARY: Sexy Inc: Our Children under Influence

 

13.00 -14.00: buffet lunch

14.00 – 15.15 the Cycle of Production/Consumption

Chair: Dr Liza Tsaliki

Rewriting the script: Women, pornography and Web 2.0
Dr Julie Bradford, University of Sunderland, UK

 

Interfacing with the User: Techno-Fetish and Porno-Bricolage as sociotechnological practices
Dr. Doris Allhutter, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute of Technology Assessment, Vienna

 

From Civil Society to “Porn Society”: The Case of BOURDELA.COM
Evangelos Liotzis, University of Athens Greece

 

Cybersex: social opportunity or social isolation?
Yiannis Papadimitriou and Marsia Vletsa, University of Athens, Greece

 

 

15.15 -15.30: coffee break

15.30 -17.15 Policy and Activism

Chair: Dr Rebecca Suillivan

Scaling Porn
Eleanor Wilkinson, University of Leeds, UK

 

Feminist Epistemology and Its Impact on the Regulation of Pornography: Slovenian Case Study

Dr Renata Sribar, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Misrecognition, Media and… Discrimination? An analysis of the weaknesses and potential of anti-discrimination law in addressing discrimination through expressive means

Karla Pérez Portilla, University College London, UK

Comfort break

17.20 -18.15 Cultures of Pornography-

Pornography of Culture

 

Chair: Dr Karen Boyle

“Now that’s solid evidence!” Hard-Core Porn and the Biopolitical Penis
Dr. Stephen Maddison, University of East London, UK

Veiled Pornography: Patterns and Consumption of Pornography in the Middle East
Dr Sarah Michelle Leonard, American University in Cairo, Egypt

Porno chic: does the hyper-sexualised body empower femininity in East Asia?
Dr JongMi Kim, Coventry University, UK

18.15 – 20.00 drinks, nibbles and Plenary discussion

 

Identification of research directions; collaborative and comparative work; follow up plan, meeting at University of Leeds, 2009.


PROGRAMME: ABSTRACTS and BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Table of Contents

Information on the Symposium Conveners and Sponsors: 8

Dr Katharine Sarikakis, 8

Dr Liza Tsaliki 8

Mr Rodolfos Moronis IOM.. 8

Prof. Stelios Papathanassopoulos. 9

Revisiting mediations of sex: The global industrial complex, policy and knowledge. 10

Dr Katharine Sarikakis. 10

Un-Covering Bodies on Arab Satellite Channels: The Failure of the Arab Enlightenment Project and the Rise of Pseudo-Liberalism.. 10

Salam Al-Mahadin. 11

Villains, victims and heroes: the representation of pornography in contemporary Greek press 11

Despina Chronaki 11

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian media. 11

Madalina Bodea. 12

Law, pornography, and citizenship in Canada since 1987. 12

Alison Beale. 12

Rebecca Sullivan. 13

The Political Economy of Pornography: A Network Analysis. 13

Jennifer A. Johnson. 13

Everyday Pornographies: Pornification and Commercial Sex. 14

Karen Boyle. 14

A HyperLink Network Analysis of the UK Porn Industry. 14

Steven McDermott 15

Encouraging sexual exploitation? The licensing of lap dancing clubs in the UK.. 15

Phil Hubbard. 15

Anti-Trafficking Campaign and Female Sex Workers in Urban China. 16

Dr Tiantian Zheng. 16

Gender, sexuality and boundary crisis: A critical approach to sex-trafficking. 16

Dr Liopi Abatzi 16

No “Pretty Woman”: The Politics of the Trafficked Victim.. 17

Aashika Damodar 17

Internet Pornography: Constituting proletarianization. 18

Marcus Breen. 18

The development of mass market pornography – the case of Swedish porn magazines 1950-2000 18

Klara Arnberg. 18

Buying into Sexy: Preteen Girls and Consumer Capitalism in the XXI Century. 19

Lilia Goldfarb. 19

Rewriting the script: Women, pornography and Web 2.0. 19

Julie Bradford University of Sunderland, UK.. 19

Interfacing with the User: Techno-Fetish and Porno-Bricolage as sociotechnological practices 20

Doris Allhutter 21

From Civil society to “Porn Society”: The Case of Bourdela.com.. 21

Evangelos Liotzis University of Athens. 21

Cyber-sex: Social opportunity or social isolation?. 21

Marsia Vletsa. 22

Scaling Porn. 22

Eleanor Wilkinson. 23

Feminist Epistemology and Its Impact on the Regulation of Pornography: Slovenian Case Study 23

Misrecognition, Media and…Discrimination?. 24

Karla Pérez Portilla. 25

“Now that’s solid evidence!” Hard-Core Porn and the Biopolitical Penis. 25

Stephen Maddison. 25

Veiled Pornography: Patterns and Consumption of Pornography in the Middle East 26

Sarah Michelle Leonard. 26

Porno chic: does the hyper-sexualised body empower femininity in East Asia?. 26

Dr JongMi Kim.. 27


Information on the Symposium Conveners and Sponsors:

Dr Katharine Sarikakis, born and bred Athenian, is Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds. She is the founding Director of the Centre for International Communication Research (CICR) and Director of the PhD Programme. Katharine is the co-editor of the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, and the author of articles and books on media and cultural policy and international communications, including Media and Cultural Policy in the European Union (European Studies 24, Rodopi, 2007) Feminist Interventions in International Communication (Rowman and Littlefield 2008), Media Policy and Globalisation (Edinburgh University Press 2006). She is the Chair of the Communications Law and Policy Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA). She is also Honorary Research Fellow at the Hainan University, China and Scientific Advisor to the Institute for Applied Communications Research in Cyprus. She has served as elected Vice-President at the International Association of Media and Communication researchers, where she is currently serving as an elected Member of the International Council. Katharine has given evidence and advice on cultural and communication policy to several organisations including the European Parliament and the BBC. Katharine is the Principal Investigator of the Project “Socialisation of the global sexually explicit imagery: Challenges to Regulation and Research” funded by the British Academy, collaborating with Dr Liza Tsaliki at NKU Athens. The symposium is an integral part of the project. K.Sarikakis(at)Leeds.ac.uk

Dr Liza Tsaliki was awarded her Ph.D. on the role of Greek television on the construction of national identity from the University of Sussex. She was teaching at the University of Sunderland from 1996 till 2000. Between, 2000-2002, she was a Marie Curie Post Doctoral Fellow at the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, researching the digital civil society across the European Union. From 2002 to 2006 she was working as the Director of International Relations at the Hellenic Culture Organization (www.cultural-olympiad.gr). She resumed her academic duties, as a lecturer, at the Faculty of Communication and Mass Media at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in March 2006. Her current interests involve ICTs and democratic participation; online activism; gender and new technologies; the public sphere; cultural policy-making; Internet safety. Since 2006, she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics (media@LSE), working with Professor Sonia Livingstone on the EU-funded project ‘EU Kids Online’ (www.eukidsonline.net). She is also the commentaries editor for the International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics (MCP) http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/mcp.

Contact details: 5 Stadiou Street, Faculty of Communication and Mass Media, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens 105 62, Greece.

etsaliki@media.uoa.gr

Mr Rodolfos Moronis IOM

President of the Institute of Audiovisual Media

He graduated from Panteios School of Political Studies (Now Panteion University of Social and Political Studies). He worked as a journalist for the “Mesimvrini” newspaper – before 1967- and afterwards he moved in to “Simerina” as a cinema critic, “Ta Nea” (International news) and to “Vradini” (politics and commentaries). He has been working for Greek and European television since 1975. He served as a Eurovision News Manager and from time to time he has presented several TV broadcasts (“Now with Europe”, “30 minutes in the World” etc.) In June 1989 he took over as a General Manager of ET1 (Greek public TV channel) and resigned in December 1990. He served as a manager on the National Audiovisual Committee (1991-1993) and as a member during the first elections for the members of the Committee from the Greek Parliament’s President’s Board (2002-2005). He organised and managed radio and television stations of the private sector (Antenna, Cool FM, Seven X).\He taught “broadcast journalism” at Panteion University of Athens (1995-2000). He has translated two plays (A. Adamof’s ‘Pink ponk’ and Frank Gilroy’s ‘We were talking of roses’), has written a handbook of Political cinema and a book entitled ‘Introduction to the poetry of Jacques Prevert’.

Prof. Stelios Papathanassopoulos

Head of Faculty of Communication and Mass Media, University of Athens

Stylianos Papathanassopoulos studied Political Science at Panteion University of social and political studies, Athens, and holds a master’s degree in History at Pantheon-Sorbonne, University of Paris I and Communications Policy at City University of London. He also holds a Ph.D. in Communications Policy (City University of London). He was previously a Lecturer in Media Policy at City University of London and a Research Fellow at London’s Broadcasting Research Unit. Stylianos Papathanassopoulos is now professor at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies of National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (UoA) and he is for the time being the Head of the Faculty. He is also a member of the Board of the Hellenic Audiovisual Institute. Previously, he was Deputy Director of the University Research Institute of Applied Communication (URIAC) and Deputy-Head of the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies. He is a member of the Euromedia Research Group and he was a member of the research project “Changing Media-Changing Europe” funded by the European Science Foundation. He is the Editor of the Greek communication journal “Zitimata Epikoinonias (Communication Issues)” and member of the editorial boards of the journals Global Media and Communication and European Journal of Communication.


Revisiting mediations of sex: The global industrial complex, policy and knowledge

Dr Katharine Sarikakis University of Leeds

This presentation considers the status quo of the global pornography industry and the questions it raises as geographies of production and consumption are shifting. As globalization provides the impetus for goods and capital cross border mobility, it also facilitates the change in production sites, affecting structural and symbolic dimensions of production and consumption, such as labour conditions, social welfare and the mainstreaming of the genre. The presentation explores new issues raised through the shifting boundaries of ‘acceptability’ of pornography in everyday culture, in relation to the ways in which current policy addresses – or not – the contexts of production and consumption and the risks they impose on the personhood of those working in the industry but also those its cultural products represent.

 

 

Un-Covering Bodies on Arab Satellite Channels: The Failure of the Arab Enlightenment Project and the Rise of Pseudo-Liberalism

Salam Al-Mahadin Petra University Jordan

Despite the elusive nature of pornography and the difficulty of reaching a consensus on what the term actually means, almost every one can claim they can recognize pornographic material if they came across it. This may explain why a sudden explosion of female bodies on Arab satellite screens has often been described as a form of “soft pornography” (mawad Ibahia) without much, if any, objection to the use of the term to describe this new phenomenon. Traditionally, i.e. in the annals of Western research, pornography has been recognized as the depiction of sexual acts for the explicit aim of sexually exciting the consumers of such material. Some western feminists have argued that pornography is the objectification of female body through the fetishisation of sexual acts. The Meese Commission of 1986 defined pornography as “any depiction of sex to which the person using the word objects.” Applied to the Arab context, none of these definitions can justify describing some of the representations of women on Arab satellite channels as pornographic.

 

The problem is further compounded by the literature on the topic in Arab media. Hundreds of articles in Arabic newspapers and countless talk shows have tackled this phenomenon through the cumbersome discourse of censure and condemnation without much thought for the conditions that created this rupture. Ten or fifteen years ago, it would have been unthinkable to produce video clips, dramas or game shows where singers, contestants, and actresses are waltzing around semi-naked, gyrating sensually and erotically to music (in the case of video clips) and flaunting their sexuality in all three cases. The recent emergence of the phenomenon begs the question “why now”? It also poses a series of other related questions: Why has this phenomenon been described as “pornographic” and why is it still alive and kicking despite this entire public outcry? What are the discourses of desire that emerge from these representations? What are the political, social and economic contingencies that have given rise to such representations? What are the insidious networks of power relations that emerge after 15 years of being inundated with these images? Have these images been emancipatory of otherwise mostly oppressed women in the Arab world? What are the political agendas that have financed and entrenched such depictions?

 

This paper aims to situate this recent phenomenon within the Arab enlightenment project which began at the turn of the 20th century and argue that a delicate gendered balance of power has been carefully constructed to serve the political agendas of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world. The paper will trace the history of nationalist movements throughout the 20th century, the rise of right-wing Islamic movements, the political failure of the enlightenment Project and the rise of a culture of pseudo-liberal consumerism to ward off the threat of both Islamic fundamentalism and liberalism.

 

Salam Al-Mahadin is Associate-Professor at the Department of English at Petra University in Amman, Jordan. Her research has focused on media discourse, women’s issues in Jordan and the Arab World and identity politics in Jordan.

 

Villains, victims and heroes: the representation of pornography in contemporary Greek press

Dr Liza Tsaliki and Despina Chronaki, National and Kapodistrian, University of Athens

The history of technological developments has shown that porn sites have been in the vanguard of a number of interactive and sharing Internet protocols – in fact, the two, technology and pornography are highly interconnected. The ease of access, relatively low cost and good technical quality of the Internet, as well as the privacy it offers to users, make it an attractive medium for marketing pornography. The question is raised on whether pornographic material, available either through the Internet or other ICTs such as the mobile phone, contributes towards a discourse of hegemonic masculinity framed around the sexual exploitation of women – now gradually becoming available to young people as well. Concurrently, the advent of the Internet has facilitated the social acceptability and legitimization of porn, the current debate no longer being exclusively framed on how pornography degrades and debases women. Instead, porn users and participants of online porn far from being seen as victims or as ‘objects of desire’ are active agents in the construction of their identity.

 

This paper briefly discusses how popular perceptions of porn have changed over the past few years, resulting in arguments whereby online pornography is seen as something other than harmful, offering a position of agency for its participants. The main objective of the paper is to contextualize the previous view within contemporary readings of online pornography in the Greek press. In an overtly sexualized, in our opinion, everyday media culture, what types of framing does the press in Greece reserve for online pornography. We are particularly interested in depictions of child Internet pornography and the potential demonization of online culture in Greece especially as Greek newspapers love to cauterize children’s online ‘addiction’. The sample examined in this paper is a six months period from August 2007 to June 2008. The months chosen are August 2007, October 2007, December 2007, February 2008, April 2008 and June 2008.

 

 

Despina Chronaki holds a bachelor degree of Communication, Mass Media and Culture Faculty (Panteion University of Social and Political Studies, Athens) and is now a postgraduate student on the MA in “Political Communication and New Technologies” at the Mass Media and Communication Faculty of the National Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Along with her MA studies, she is a member of the Greek national team of EU Kids Online Network as well as the Social Research Laboratory of the Mass Media and Communication faculty (University of Athens) where she works as a researcher on a regular basis.

She is interested in media social research as well as Internet safety and opportunities issues and the use of ICTs by children in general.

Sexually explicit imagery in Romanian media

Dr Valentina Marinescu and Madalina Bodea University of Bucharest

The present paper investigates the sexually explicit imageries in Romanian mass media. We note that in Romania there is no interest in scientific research on type of issue, no surveys or academic data being available. The issue was approached indirectly in relation to human trafficking and prostitution, on one hand, and with children’s rights and prevention, on the other. UNICEF and “Save the Children” are two organizations that proved to be interested in the issue and several Romanian newspapers published articles on this issue (especially news related to Internet pornography focusing on the cases of children and teenagers).

In general, the issue is frequently linked either to violence against women and prostitution, or to the esthetic-literary debates – references are made especially to the use of sexual themes and images in novels and the fine arts.

The general research question for which we shall try to offer an answer is: What are the main patterns of Romania media usages of sexually explicit imagery?

In approaching the subject we shall analyze several dimensions: 1. the general legal framework; 2. the organization, financing and offers of the Romanian mass media of this type of message; 3 case studies of media representations and public decoding and their opinions regarding this type of media content.

 

Madalina Bodea (Research Assistant). holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Bucharest (2004) and an M.A. in Theoretical Philosophy from the same University (2006). She is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Letters (2008 onward). Her previous research focused on the interpersonal communication of small social networks and media and advertising studies; audience profiles, brand communication strategy. Currently her research interests have moved to the junction of cultural studies and communication, including the sociology of literature, gender stereotypes, media and pornography.

Law, pornography, and citizenship in Canada since 1987

Prof. Alison Beale, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC

Dr Rebecca Sullivan, University of Calgary, Alberta

This paper will trace the recent legal treatment of pornography in Canada through a series of important cases and the development of key legislation. We will start with the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in R v. Butler, a case which began in 1987 and finally reached its conclusion in 1992 by likening some pornographic material to hate crimes and suggesting a direct causal link between pornography and the suppression of women’s rights and freedoms in Canadian society. One year later, the visual artist Eli Langer was arrested for depicting children in sexual acts in his work on display at the Mercer Gallery in Toronto. The charges were based on additions to the criminal code outlawing any depictions of persons less than eighteen years old engaged in sexual acts. Also in 1993, the Ontario Supreme Court ruled against Glad Day Bookshop, a leading gay and lesbian bookseller in Canada, finding them guilty of circulating obscene material over an S&M lesbian magazine called Bad Attitudes. These three watershed moments highlight a key transition point in the way that Canada has approached the question of pornography in the wake of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom ten years previously. In each instance, the legitimacy of pornography as private, commercial, or political communication was weighed against its asserted potential to cause harm to targeted groups of citizens, most frequently women and/or children. Since the time of these cases, expanded online and digital technologies along with growing international markets have transformed the production and consumption of pornography and while Canada’s media regulators have had a hands-off policy related to the Internet, Canada’s police forces have been credited with taking a global leadership role particularly in pursuing the consumers and distributors of child pornography on the Internet.

In charting the developments of Canada’s legal relationship to pornography, the authors will ask the following questions: How does Canada’s legal treatment of pornography reflect an understanding of citizens as consumers, political actors, and exploited or defamed groups? What sorts of public discussions took place during successive court trials and parliamentary debates relating to obscenity and censorship of sexually explicit materials, that contributed to these social definitions? What international legal frameworks affected Canadian actions on pornography and their related social definitions?

 

Alison Beale. Areas of Teaching and Research: Communication theory & technology issues; film & video; cultural policy; feminist analysis. Current Research: Globalization and cultural policies; cultural trade, communications regulation; feminist research in cultural policy; cultural policy as cultural practice. Education- PhD. 1989 Communications, McGill University, Montreal. Dissertation: The Unresolved Range: Communication, Production, History. M.A. 1979 Communications, McGill University, Montreal. Thesis: The Concept of Language in the Communication Theory of Harold A. Innis. B.A. Honours 1977 English (Communications), McGill University, Montreal.

 

Rebecca Sullivan is an Associate Professor in Communications specializing in feminist film and media studies. Her interest in the popular and legal discourses of sexuality extends through reproductive technologies, sexual education, virginity and celibacy, and pornography. Dr. Sullivan is the author of Visual Habits: Nuns, Feminism and American Postwar Popular Culture, the co-author of Canadian Television Today, and co-author of the forthcoming Becoming Biosubjects: Contemporary Canadian Biotechnology Discourse.

 

The Political Economy of Pornography: A Network Analysis

Dr Jennifer A. Johnson PhD, Virginia Commonwealth University

The pornography industry has grown into a multi-billion dollar market with sales rivaling that of all major sports organizations combined (Rich, 2001), yet little research has been done on the political economy of pornography (Dines, 2003). Most research on pornography focuses on the text(s) or images of the media form as opposed to the material realities of the pornography industry through which these media forms reach the consumer (Dines, 1998). Using social network analysis and a critical political economy framework, the purpose of this research is to fill this gap in the literature by focusing on the business network of the pornography industry, including the industry’s connections to mainstream organizations. Political economy is a theoretical framework that describes the ways in which economic processes shape the larger cultural, social and political order. Social network analysis (SNA) is a descriptive methodology that quantitatively maps, measures and visualizes connections between organizations. The goal of this research is to construct a map of the material reality pornography by focusing on how the pornography industry is networked, not only to mainstream business but in relationship to each other. This map provides a broader contextualization of pornography inside the social order than is presented by traditional cultural analyses that separate the cultural production of an image from the material realities required to produce it. Data establishing the connections that comprise the business network of the pornography industry was drawn mainly from business and trade reports posted on the Adult Video News (AVN) website as well as that of X-Biz, both of which are major trade magazines for pornography industry. Data was also gathered through mainstream business trade reports, Lexis/Nexis and websites that were within two clicks of AVN and X-Biz. Results show that the pornography industry relies heavily on mainstream business to market and distribute their product; without access to the mainstream marketplace, the ability of pornography industry to reach the consumer would be significantly diminished. Even Internet sites rely on mainstream web designers, animators and payment transaction businesses such as Pay Pal to facilitate the distribution of pornography. Similar to Dines (2003), our results show that Playboy and Hustler are dominant players or ‘hubs’ in the network that are embedded in different regions of the business network. Playboy is located closer to mainstream industry whereas Hustler connects more closely to hard-core, gonzo type of pornography. Furthermore, the pornography industry is anchored by a few large, well-known businesses such as Playboy, Hustler and Private Media Group (a video distribution company) but the overall network is populated mostly by disposable entities such as fly-by-night websites that focus on ‘gonzo’ hard core pornography. This research illustrates that the material reality of pornography extends beyond a marginalized economic position and raises questions about the flow of money inside the economy of pornography and how these images and text(s) serve the interests of the dominant media class.

 

Jennifer A. Johnson, PhD is an assistant professor of sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University located in Richmond, Virginia. After completing her PhD in sociology at the University of Virginia in 2004, Dr. Johnson worked for the U.S. federal government doing methodological development in the area of social network analysis. For this work, she won the prestigious Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award. Her current academic research is focused on utilizing social network analysis to map the political economy of the pornography industry. Other areas of academic work include non-profit organizational networks, criminal networks and measuring the impact of the family form on social capital outcomes including peer networks.

Everyday Pornographies: Pornification and Commercial Sex

Dr Karen Boyle University of Glasgow

Just as the boundaries between the pornographic and mainstream have eroded in recent years, so too have the boundaries between academic and popular studies of pornography. In the bestseller lists, this boundary-blurring is exemplified by texts such as Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvinistic Pigs and Pamela Paul’s Pornified. On the academic side, recent anthologies on pornography – including Porn Studies, More Dirty Looks, Pornification: Sex and Sexuality in Media Culture – have also been concerned with the boundaries of the pornographic and how the blurring of boundaries has impacted on sexual representation in mainstream media cultures. At the same time, studies of unambiguously pornographic texts have arguably veered away from pornography for heterosexual men to consider alternative representations and there has been a methodological shift towards textual analyses of pornographic texts (and the mainstream texts that mimic them) in academic writing. As a result, some of the big questions that characterised earlier academic engagements with pornography – questions about regulation, production practices and the uses of pornography – have become marginalised.

 

This paper surveys this context and argues for the political importance of maintaining a distinction between pornography and other forms of sexually explicit media. In doing so, I argue for the (re – )positioning of pornography as a practice of commercial sex as well as an aesthetic practice. Thinking of pornography in relation to commercial sex practices allows us to retain a focus on the demand for pornography not in relation to the “right to access” certain images or representations, but as an issue of commercial exchange where one group of people buy access to the bodies of another group of people for sexual purposes.

 

 

Karen Boyle is a Lecturer in Film & Television Studies at the University of Glasgow. She is the author of Media & Violence: Gendering the Debates and has published articles on pornography and its mainstream representation in a number of edited collections and journals including Women’s Studies International Forum and Feminist Media Studies. She has given evidence to the Equal Opportunities Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the impact of pornography.

 

A HyperLink Network Analysis of the UK Porn Industry

Steven McDermott, Institute of Communications Studies, University of Leeds

The Internet is optimistically regarded as a force for democracy and at the same time another mechanism by which the poor and weak become further disempowered (Calhoun, 1998). Computer mediated communication enhances the current power structures while reinforcing the exploitation of those who are most vulnerable. By recognising the dominance of online pornography, Internet Service Providers and the communications industry are willing to accept the profits generated in working with the porn industry while ignoring the price being paid by the most visible, and yet voiceless agents. In doing so the Internet is awash with easily accessible pornographic imagery with mobile phones are viewed as an even bigger market. With the demand for such material being the driving force for broadband usage and with the expansion of the use of mobile phones for downloading videos, I will ask ‘which United Kingdom companies are the keyplayers?’ Are there structural holes within the networks, ensuring ‘deniability’ for the larger industrial players? I target online websites of the ‘adult entertainment’ industry in the UK using hyperlink analysis in order to extract the social network. This then enables me to conduct social network analysis uncovering the keyplayers of the UK porn industry with higher levels of ‘closeness centrality’ and ‘betweenness centrality’ (Nooy et al., 2005). Closeness centrality and betweenness centrality are regarded as measures of power within a given network. This study is searching for tentative links between the providers and the industrial players that have enabled the distribution of pornographic material via the Internet and mobile phones.

 

Steven McDermott is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Communications Studies (University of Leeds). He has a B.A. (Hons.) in Philosophy and Sociology from The Queen’s University of Belfast, an M.A. in Philosophy and Social Theory from the University of Warwick and a Master of Research in Social Research from the University of Aberdeen. His research explores the socio-political dimensions of the Internet and other technologies, using Social Network Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis. He was awarded a Research Student Scholarship in 2008 and is currently a Research Assistant on the ‘Globalisation, Media and Adult/Sexual Content: Challenges to Regulation and Research Project’.

Encouraging sexual exploitation? The licensing of lap dancing clubs in the UK

Prof Phil Hubbard Loughborough University

In many nations, nudity has been equated with the sexual and erotic, with lewd conduct and indecent exposure laws prohibiting display of the naked or semi-naked body in public. However, increasingly, exceptions are made if this nudity is considered justifiable in the name of art/performance or is licensed as a form of ‘adult entertainment’. As such, and noting the increasing number of sites of lap-dancing and striptease in contemporary Western cities, this paper explores key themes in the regulation of adult businesses, suggesting that these sites are becoming increasingly normalised as spaces of public entertainment and regarded as an integral part of a diversified and vibrant night-time economy. Noting the arguments of those who suggest this process of normalisation is effectively legitimating the sexual objectification and exploitation of women, the paper explores the ways in which the state seeks both to deny the morally problematic status of lap dancing as sexual entertainment whilst recognising the need to ensure such entertainment occurs in well-managed, controlled and regulated spaces away from ‘family’ residences. Working through these contradictions, this paper argues that there is a need to think about the ways in which these sites are implicated in the making of wider social, cultural, economic and intimate relations, and explores the ways in which their regulation might reproduce heterosexist assumptions about the appropriate ways in which eroticism can be consumed – and by whom.

 

Phil Hubbard is an urban/social geographer whose current research focuses on questions of social inclusion/exclusion. Theoretically, his work combines psychoanalytical and post-structuralist ideas to explore the ongoing and contested making of social identities in different at different scales, from the body to the city. This interest is currently manifested in a number of specific empirical foci:

Sexuality, sex work and the city: funded by the British Academy, Joseph Rowntree and ESRC this has involved an overview of how red-light landscapes are produced and maintained through legal representations, social discourses and material practices. This has laid the foundations for a wider, principally theoretical, exploration of heterosexuality and the city.

Exclusion and NIMBYism: working through instances of exclusion at different scales, this has involved a re-theorisation of NIMBYism which traces how white Oedipal identities are reproduced via exclusionary geographies. This has been detailed in studies of opposition to centres for asylum seekers in rural England and studies of the exclusion of sex work from local and national spaces.

Asylum and migration: He is the co-convenor of the Making the Connections network, which explores questions of migration, diaspora and identity in relation to newly arrived communities, working through models of participatory arts and action-oriented collaboration (see makingtheconnections.info)

Studentification: He is interested in exploring issues of student occupation and community cohesion in university towns and is a member of Loughborough University’s Campus-Community liaison group.

He is currently also the Chair of the Social and Cultural Research Group of the IBG-RGS. See http://scgrg.blogspot.com/.

 

Anti-Trafficking Campaign and Female Sex Workers in Urban China

Dr Tiantian Zheng State University of New York, Cortland

This paper discusses the adverse effect upon sex workers of China’s abolitionist policy that focuses on forced prostitution and launches anti-trafficking campaigns. The argument developed in this paper is based on over twenty months of fieldwork between 1999 and 2002 in Dalian. I will first discuss karaoke bar industry and China’s policy of anti-trafficking campaigns. I will then demonstrate the impact of this policy on hostesses in karaoke bars. I will follow it with an account of how, unlike the government’s perception of forced prostitution, hostesses voluntarily choose their profession and actively seek sex work in countries such as Japan and Singapore.

 

Dr Tiantian Zheng received her Ph.D. in anthropology at Yale University in 2003, and currently teaches as an associate professor in the department of Sociology/Anthropology at SUNY Cortland. She is the author of Red Lights: Sex and the State in Postsocialist China: Rural Migration and Karaoke Bar Hostesses in Dalian, forthcoming 2009, by University Minnesota Press. Her articles appeared in edited volumes published by Columbia University Press, Routledge, Edward Elgar, Sage, and Shanghai Wenhui Press, and peer-reviewed journals such as China Quarterly, Critical Asian Studies, Modern China, China: An International Journal, Journal of Contemporary China, City and Society, and Yale Journal of Student Anthropology. zhengt@cortland.edu

 

Gender, sexuality and boundary crisis: A critical approach to sex-trafficking

Dr Liopi Abatzi University of Athens

The prevention of “trafficking in women” has become a priority for service agencies and policy makers throughout the world. However, even though millions of dollars of funding are being pumped into initiatives to research, define and prevent the phenomenon known as trafficking, this framework remains tied to fears about sexuality and sexual slavery.

Trafficking in women is a complex phenomenon, related to different fields and interests: migration, organized crime, prostitution, human rights, violence against women, the feminisation of poverty, the gender division of the international labour market, unequal international economic relationships, etc. Solutions vary, depending on how the problem is defined, that is to say, what is seen as the problem that needs to be solved.

Discourses on trafficking in women are intertwined with state sovereignty and function as means of state-crafting. Contemporary worries around sex work and trafficking in women have as their historical precedent anti- white slavery campaigns as developed by late 19th century and early 20th century. In this paper I try to deconstruct moral panics concerning illegal migration, border control, and the increasing migrants’ criminality. The ideological context of the anti-trafficking campaigns enforces the exclusionary policies and sustains a nationalized/ nationalistic conscience of place and homeland while turning to criminals those who reside illegally in the state.

Sexuality, sex work and the whore- stigma are key points in the construction and re production of ethical conservatism which provides the bulk of stereotypical perceptions of the Other and the Self and reinforces gender asymmetries and sexual repression and control.

 

Dr Liopi Abatzi holds a degree from the University of Athens on Political Science (1993). Her PhD in Social Anthropology (University of the Aegean, 2004) concerns gender relations, body and emotions in sex work. Her research interests are sexuality, gender, migration and work. She has been external researcher at the National Center for Social Resarch (2003-4, 2006) and at the University of Athens (2005-2007- department of English Language and Literature). She is currently working as a researcher at the University of Athens (department of Early Childhood, 2008 – 9). She has published articles on sex work and a monograph on trafficking in women (2008, EKKE).

No “Pretty Woman”: The Politics of the Trafficked Victim

Aashika Damodar Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley

This paper is a study of human trafficking discourse based upon ethnographic field work, policy and non-governmental organization research conducted with Polaris Project, a major anti-trafficking organization in Washington D.C. I worked with victims of “trafficking,” went on law enforcement raids to brothels in the D.C. area and observed trafficking behaviors on the major prostitution tracks. The women I interviewed became an ethnographic site, a prime locus for understanding a certain pimp-subculture, the emergence of “domestic sex trafficking” discourse and how the law affects the body and identity.

 

The aim of my thesis is to explore Polaris Project’s approach to helping victims of sex trafficking. I explore the underlying theoretical notions of trafficking that support Polaris’ agenda of working with women in street prostitution as a representation of human trafficking conditions and trafficked individuals. First, I look at the various fields in which trafficking discourse takes shape, as an issue of immigration, prostitution and human rights. It is within these larger issues that trafficking discourse is actualized and is the source of major debates for defining human trafficking. In addition, from readings of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and other documents about trafficking, I show how anti-trafficking rhetoric has been used to portray trafficking victims as unable to escape trafficking conditions and thus require institutions such as the government or nonprofits to manage, assist, produce and actualize victims of trafficking. I look at victims of domestic sex trafficking (victims of trafficking who are U.S. citizens, or who have been trafficked within borders) as a subordinated group within the wider discourse and general narratives of human trafficking. Domestically trafficked persons are a subaltern subject without autonomy to speak about their conditions. The TVPA is focused on conditions of victimization such as poverty and other vulnerabilities that do not address the intricacies and complexities of human trafficking phenomena. The victimization framework is far too simplistic to address human trafficking activities on a broad scale.

 

I also look at how trafficking discourse has served as a tool for identity-making. While the sex industry is ridden with stereotypes, stigmatization and victimization, trafficking discourse removes many of these problems for several survivors. In this process however, I argue that there is a severe disconnect between current human trafficking discourse, and the population to whom it victimizes. It is the case that human trafficking as defined by international and federal standards implies that human trafficking is an international problem affecting “others.” Federal legislation highly emphasize international trafficking although domestic is included. However, as Polaris and a few others have done, the term “trafficking” has been rearticulated and transformed through their service agendas to help women under pimp control by directly servicing women and also addressing hip-hop culture where the pimping phenomena is culturally acknowledged produced and glorified. Pimps are glorified by popular culture in music, TV shows, movies and magazines as well as “Pimp ’n’ Ho” parties on college campuses and the annual Player’s Balls held annually in major American cities to celebrate pimping. The glamorization of pimping makes pimps’ behavior seem innocuous, admirable or humorous.

 

Aashika Damodar is a graduate from the University of California, Berkeley in Anthropology & Political Science. Her research interests include global health, human rights and gender politics. Her honors thesis on the politics of the “trafficked victim” recently won the Ronald Frankenberg Prize for the best thesis in Critical Medical Anthropology. Currently, Aashika is a Zimmerman Fellow in Washington D.C. with Dr. Kevin Bales and Free the Slaves, a leading non-profit in the anti-human trafficking movement. As a fellow, she will work on issue-advocacy and research.

 

 

 

 

Internet Pornography: Constituting proletarianization

Dr Marcus Breen

This contribution to the discussion of pornography deals with the unintended consequences of the Internet. The material is part of a larger study of class and the Internet, specifically the process of proletarianization that has occurred through the growth and application of low cost technologies that make it possible for the poor to become deeply engaged with the processes of capitalism in its contemporary globalized manifestations. The work is conceived around cultural studies approaches. This contribution will critically examine the challenging contradictions within the global sex industry, as conceived by liberal politics in advanced economies. It will indicate how the theory of proletarianization operates, drawing in turn, on theories associated with transgressive knowledge and moral economy to explain how the relationships are constituted. Fundamentally, this paper looks at how class is articulated with Internet pornography within the global political economy.

 

Marcus Breen has worked as a journalist, consultant and academic in Australia and the US. He has published books and articles on cultural studies, cultural policy studies, cultural industries and ICTs.

 

The development of mass market pornography – the case of Swedish porn magazines 1950-2000

Klara Arnberg Umeå University, Sweden

 

The myth of “the Swedish sin” was known worldwide by the end of 1960s. In Sweden, obscene material was regulated until 1971, but a pornographic industry grew fast in the 1960s. Sweden is often, together with Denmark, described as a forerunner both when it comes to the development of a more explicit pornographic press and the connected deregulation. The pornographic press challenged the constitutional regulation by its existence and its increasingly sexually explicit pictures. In the sixties and the seventies then, Swedish pornographic magazines became successful both in Sweden and internationally and there were tourists coming to Sweden just for buying pornography. In my paper, I discuss the changing pornographic magazines and how the industry handled the regulation on obscene material until the abolition of the obscene regulation in 1971. To study this I analyze official documents such as law texts and inquiries, but also prosecutions against pornographic magazines and preliminary investigations made by the police authority. My main focus is on the connections between policies, the market and the construction of an official or public sexuality. Although pornography existed before the 1950s, it was in the post war period that the first sexually explicit magazines directed to a mass market came about. This was, I argue, very important for the conceptualization of sexuality and (disconnection to) love.

 

The case of Swedish pornography shows the beginning of an internationalization of the pornography industry. It also raises questions on the possibility of a regulation and how it was considered impossible to keep this limitation of the freedom of the press in a liberal democracy.

 

Klara Arnberg is a PhD Candidate in Economic History at Umeå University, Sweden. I am writing my thesis about Swedish pornographic press and the political regulations on pornography 1950-2000. In December 2007, I defended my Licentiate thesis on the same topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying into Sexy: Preteen Girls and Consumer Capitalism in the XXI Century

Lilia Goldfarb

Concordia University and YWCA Montreal

 

We live in a hypersexualized society that infantilizes women and commodifies girls at the service of the capitalist system. In recent years, Quebec and other Western societies, have witnessed a rising concern about preadolescent girls showing signs of early or precocious sexualization. This issue, which is dismissed by some as a media moral panic and proof of girls’ increased social power and agency, is being taken very seriously by many others who worry about the impact this issue seems to be having on girls’ well-being: unwanted pregnancies, STI’s, eating disorders, depression, self-harm, increased vulnerability to violence as well as a number of other negative health outcomes (A.P.A., 2007).

 

As the media continues to represent women as sexual objects and pornographic codes invade popular culture, they foster early sexualization since they not only sell products and audiences but also an ideology that normalizes porn-defined sexualized attitudes and behaviors (Agger, 2006). On the one hand, the 21st century Western corporate culture ‘seduces’ girls with offerings of glitter, popularity and fame through sexualized popular cultural icons, via the media, operating at the service of and controlled by powerful economic interests; on the other hand, girls are simultaneously blamed for letting themselves be lured into dressing and/or acting in over sexualized ways. Girls are caught in the crossfire between competing scripts: “Be sexy! Popular girls are” and “Good girls don’t”. What do preteen girls think about the socialization proposed by the media? The paper summarizes the findings of three focus groups with preteen girls 9 to 12 years of age carried out in Montreal in 2007.

 

Lilia Goldfarb – is a teacher and community organizer specializing in gender issues who has worked in developing community capacity for over twenty years. She is currently Department Head of Leadership Services at the YWCA Montreal and responsible for all girls’ programming and the project on precocious sexualization in preteen girls. She holds a graduate diploma in Community Economic Development and a M.A. in the Special Individualized Program (a transdisciplinary program) from Concordia University in Montreal. Lilia has been researching precocious sexualization for the past five years in the context of her work at the Montreal YWCA. In order to increase the scope of the project, she partnered in 2006 with the Service d’aide aux collectivités at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and two professors. As a result of this partnership they have developed a number of pedagogical tools, including a critically acclaimed 35 m. documentary video: Sexy Inc: Our Children under Influence, which was produced by Sophie Bissonnette and the National Film Board of Canada. goldfarb@videotron.ca

Rewriting the script: Women, pornography and Web 2.0

Julie Bradford University of Sunderland, UK

This paper investigates how female sex bloggers and web mistresses are using the Internet to forge sexual identities online. It specifically asks how this relates to radical feminist theories of pornography as ‘sexist hate literature’ (Jensen, 2004: 247) and how far it should prompt a rethink of theoretical and policy responses to pornography.

Most sex blogs are written by women, who post sexually explicit stories, photographs and videos of themselves online. Though they have been in existence since the late 1990s, female sex blogs have reached what Ken Plummer calls “critical take-off point” with the best-known turned into books and TV series. The time is ripe for these stories to be heard and there is an interpretive community ready to hear them.

 

Computers give women access to sexually explicit material from the privacy of the home, from where they can also become producers. There are no barriers to entry, and the interactivity of the Internet brings women into contact with a community of other like-minded people. As a result, women have become more involved with the production and consumption of sexually explicit material, backing up Jane Juffer’s argument that their traditional absence was a question of access rather than an intrinsic essential difference between men and women (1998).

This paper asks what women are doing with this newfound freedom to participate and what it means for traditional, gender-based approaches to pornography. It analyses the content of sex blogs and amateur pornographic sites, and structured interviews with the female bloggers and webmistresses, to ask how far they are wresting control of sexual representation and how far they are working within existing conventions. It asks whether there is any such thing as a feminine take on pornography/sexuality. Most importantly, it asks how this ties in with the radical feminist theory that – allied with moral conservative approaches – has dominated the debate about pornography since the 1970s.

Radical feminist theory sees pornography as representing men’s subordination of women, and women as eternal victims in sexual cultures (cf Robert Jensen, Simon Hardy). There is new research that accepts women’s involvement as producers and consumers of pornography as an unremarkable fact (Katrien Jacobs, Feona Attwood). However, it does not tackle the anti-pornography feminist arguments head on, and this is crucial because the commonsense discourse that informs policy-making still revolves around the idea that pornography is exclusively male and sexual agency is dangerous for women.

The recent UK act outlawing the possession of ‘extreme pornography’ was hailed as a ‘victory for women’s rights’ by the liberal Guardian newspaper. Pornography for women is still seen as an anathema, and current debates about the sexualisation of culture still revolve around whether it is harmful to women. This paper argues that women’s active participation in graphic sexual representation on the Internet requires a radical rethink of these gender-based approaches to pornography.

Interfacing with the User: Techno-Fetish and Porno-Bricolage as sociotechnological practices

Doris Allhutter

 

Since the mid-1990ies digital pornography has been evolving into an ever growing mass-cultural “adult” entertainment industry. Within the past view years, quite a lot of time and money has been investigated into advancing the graphical realism of entirely computer generated (CG) pornography, such as pornographic 3D animations and porn games or so-called ‘3D sex simulators’. This type of porn applications especially invites younger audiences to consume and produce pornography and can be regarded as a strategy of playful popularisation of porn.

My paper presents empirical research on CG pornography focusing on mainstream pornographic representations,[1] i.e. hegemonial representations of sexuality, which I understand as contributing to reproducing ideologies of sexual difference within a dichotomous gender system and rigid concepts of identity.

Theoretically based in feminist film theory, queer theory, as well as in porn studies and feminist technoscience, the paper analyses CG pornography under the perspective of sociotechnological artefacts, that is to say as materialization of design decisions acting as intermediary or interface between developers and users.

Designers of CG pornography on the one hand are guided by historically and culturally grown genre conventions of photo- and film-pornography (which are reproduced and transformed in this process). On the other hand they draw on discourses of sexuality and gender difference in order to construct intelligible human-like bodies and sexual interactions.

By disclosing the implicit knowledge that informs the technological construction of sexually explicit computer applications and by investigating how gender differences and also racist strategies are encoded in these digital artefacts, I show media/technology-specific ways of staging sexuality. The analysis of the technological development of 3D animations and porn games shows the very constructedness of cultural imaginations of erogenity, of the sexual body and of a gender specific repertoire of sexual activity.

On the basis of investigating different stages of the design process, I come to the question of how users are socialised through or how they appropriate these pornographic phantasms. The technologically pre-defined grammar of using pornographic artefacts addresses the visionary capacity of the material body in a affective and performative way, so the thesis of my paper.

Sociotechnological practices of creating (“porno-bricolage”), editing and using CG pornography aim at immersing the user into the application, at addressing the user’s body in an affective way, thereby informing (along with and in conjunction with other gendered social practices) the users body imaginary.

Users are enabled to actively interact with pornography in the ‘cybernetic sex act’ (following Sandy Stone) which is connected to and reproduces collective discourses of gender difference and sexuality. By affectively addressing culturally instituated fantasies of the gendered body (Marie-Luise Angerer), digital pornography, or more precisely sociotechnological practices of interacting with these artefacts deploy a performative dimension.

 

Doris Allhutter – Degree at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (2001); post-graduate studies “Governance in Europe” at the Vienna Institute for Advanced Studies (diploma in political science 2002); doctorate in political science at the University of Vienna (2007); lecturer at the University of Vienna: Department of Communication and Department of Political Science (2002-2005); researcher and lecturer at the academic unit for Gender and Diversity Management/Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration (2003-2007); since 1/2008 researcher at the Institute of Technology Assessment/Austrian Academy of Sciences; Research foci: digital pornography, computer/information ethics, Internet content policy of the EU, feminist theory, technosciences, software development as sociotechnological process, gender scripts in technological artefacts.

From Civil society to “Porn Society”: The Case of Bourdela.com

Evangelos Liotzis University of Athens

The diffusion of new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Internet’s extensive use cultivated the idea that new social movements and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) as well as a lot of citizens (irrespective of whether they belong to civil society organizations or not), could use the horizontal, networked structure of Internet for the formation of a new public sphere (vis-à-vis the state and the market), according to the principles of Habermasian discourse theory. Parallel to this discussion (which mainly refers to the increasing possibilities for accountability due to the new medium and the new prospects that are opened for civil society in general) we witness a growth of on-line processes focusing on pornography and escorts’ services.

 

In this context, we propose the term “on-line porn society” to describe Internet users who actively participate in e-forums and e-moves aiming at exchanging on-line pornography content and information/opinions about sex issues and the “sex market”. Moreover, by describing Bourdela.com (one of the biggest porn portals in Greece) we will try to show how the interaction between the porn and the sex industry as well as the individual customers/consumers, leads to the formation of a certain kind of civil society (its “dark” side) – which one can call “porn society”.

Cyber-sex: Social opportunity or social isolation?

Yiannis Papadimitriou and Marsia Vletsa University of Athens

Although Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) is not a novelty anymore, it is evident that due to the absence of physical co-presence, it has radically challenged the concept of communication. Cyberspace is suggested as being a unique location for personal expression and freedom that does impact upon human experiences and human relations including sex. Since sexual acts and titillation are primarily considered as cerebral functions and therefore are based not only on physical but also on verbal visual interaction, cybersex can be argued as sufficiently real.

 

Forasmuch as contemporary society leads to the shrinkage of leisure time and to sexual repression (homosexuals), for most cybersex users, Internet provides a fascinating new venue for experiencing sex. Based on the major question within academic discourses that is how cyberspace impacts upon social barriers, this paper aims to discover the extent to which cybersex can be either a social opportunity or a Trojan horse for sexual and social isolation. The causes, the social implications, and the degree of cybersex addiction, the effects on sexual behavior and the extent of instant porn produced by cybersex users, are some of the researchable questions.

 

The selected target group for the current research is men, women and homosexual Internet users from 27 to 37 years old, from urban and rural areas of Greece. Our main interest is to conduct a research about people with specific characteristics such as distinct sexual orientation, active sexual life, financial and professional stability who are probably in a regular relationship. Bringing at the focal point of our research the particular age group, a group that is less vulnerable to introversion due to supposed financial, personal and sexual stability -in contrast to younger ages- we have the opportunity to explain more sufficiently the profound reasons and the consequences of an unexpected potential social alienation connected to cybersex. Except from younger ages (18-26) which are excluded because of character inconstancy, we do not intend to examine middle and late adulthood (40+) due to technology skills shortage.

 

The type of our research will be a causal exploratory research and the conduction of the online survey will be based on snowball method. The procedure of reaching our sample is via a relevant facebook group in which volunteers from the under research age group will be asked to fill out our questionnaire. This procedure will be followed because this particular social networking site is very popular, presupposes Internet skills and promotes socialization practices. Securing the uniqueness of each participant through a special website where the questionnaire will be available, we will be able to collect reliable and valid data with minimal distortion.

 

Given that Greece enjoys some of the lowest Internet penetration in Europe [Eurostat, February 2008] no academic research regarding cybersex has been made. The aim of this study is to give cause for reflection and to make contribution towards the extension of inquiring activity within the field of CMC and online sexual behavior.

 

Marsia Vletsa earned her bachelor’s degree at Panteion University from the Communication, Media and Culture Department. Her major was in Advertisement Public Relations.She is currently under postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Communications and Mass media at the National Kapodistrian University in “Political Communication and New Technologies”.Her past research focused on the Internet and democratic participation, Internet activism, public sphere, communication strategic planning, crisis management, political campaigns and elections, television news monitoring, audiences, gender gap in the news. Her current interests include Internet democratization, young people and the Internet, political participation, virtual communities and Internet pornography.

Scaling Porn

Eleanor Wilkinson University of Leeds

My paper focuses upon the UK 2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act, which will create a new offence for possession of a limited range of ‘extreme’ pornographic materials. This legislation has come about in response to the rapid increase of ‘extreme’ pornographic materials that are becoming increasingly available via the World Wide Web. This paper will address the changing media regimes of visual representation and map how the Internet plays a key role in the changing sexual geographies of public and private. I shall consider the impact of new media technologies on both the consumption and production of pornographic material.

 

My work examines the strategies used by campaigners both ‘for’ and ‘against’ this legislation. Ultimately, I argue that the legislation has often been debated in highly personalized ways: disgust and moral order versus personal pleasure and sexual freedom. I contend that both the ‘pro’ and ‘anti’ porn campaigners have been too narrowly focused in their debates. There is a need to ‘scale up’ these debates beyond identity politics and personal liberties; this legislation is not merely a private or personal issue. Yet in many of the debates there is a false separation between ‘the personal’ and ‘the political/economic’; what Lisa Duggan terms the ‘ideology of discrete spheres of social life’. In this paper I shall address what has been overlooked by failing to take into account the wider political and economic contexts that this legislation operates within.

 

Yet despite my desire to place Internet pornography within its global context, I am not attempting to claim that we therefore must move away from the individual/personal level entirely. In seeing pornography as something that operates purely at a global level, we are often left without space to discuss individual agency or resistance. For example, could we begin to discuss the ethical consumption of pornography? Could the individual consumer begin to shape the porn industry? Therefore I argue that what is needed is a greater attempt to work across these personal/national/global scales in order to form a greater awareness of how they work through and shape each other.

 

Eleanor Wilkinson is PhD student and part-time teaching assistant in Geography at the University of Leeds. Her doctoral research is entitled ‘Spaces of Love,’- this project aims to map love onto a variety of spatial scales – highlighting that our intimate lives are not solely a personal matter but have wider cultural, political and economic consequences. Her work aims to challenge and qu(e)ery our current imaginings of ‘love’, asking how we could expand or alter our visions. Publications so far include: ‘Perverting Visual Pleasure: Representing Sexualities’ Sexualities (in press), ‘What’s Queer about Nonmonogamy Now?’ in Darren Langdridge and Meg Barker (eds.) Understanding Nonmonogamy (forthcoming).

 

Feminist Epistemology and Its Impact on the Regulation of Pornography: Slovenian Case Study

Renata Sribar University of Ljubljana

Pornography as a relatively new research topic and only the recent subject of modern regulatory legislation is lacking the definition and taxonomy. Consequently the results of the sociological and psycho-sociological research studies are ambiguous, as well as the public debates in regards various social effect of proliferation of porn genre. As the liberal discourse prevails in so called western/developed world, the mainstream public attitude (well intertwined with the media policies) is to treat the phenomenon of pornography as “harmless” and even liberating, the problem being only the child pornography.

 

Nevertheless, the EU normative documents provide the basic strategy (protection of minors) for pornography regulation on the level of the member states.[2] The case study of the Slovenian implementation of Article 22 of TWF directive confirms complex dimensions of the role of pornography in society. One of the most interesting implications of the pornography regulation procedures in Slovenia is connected to feminism.

 

The Slovenian feminist ngo-s and some feminist experts succeeded to elaborate the expert study and constituted the movement (with the financial help of the British and Netherlands Embassies in Ljubljana) for the regulation of pornography in Slovenia. The concepts which they introduced were accepted and considered to a high degree in formulating the amendment to the Media Act, article on the protection of minors, and in constituting some other regulatory and co-regulatory mechanisms. Although the Slovenian regulatory mechanisms are underdeveloped and not well applied in practice, the conceptual framework was widely promoted in the media. The ambiguities of the mainstream indexation of the pornographic and pseudo-pornographic constructions in the media and ICT (Internet, mobile phones) were surpassed by conceptually segmenting porn, sexually explicit and erotic images. The conceptualization of this various phenomena related to the cultural constructions of sexuality was inspired by the feminist thinkers (C. MacKinnon, A. Dworkin, S. Easton, d. E. H. Russell, C. Itzin) . Also the most democratic and enlightened – in terms of pornography regulation, Canadian jurisdiction and Netherlands′ self-regulatory system of Nicam (kijkwijser) were studied.

 

Activation of some of the Slovenian feminists in the process of constituting the basic mechanisms of pornography regulation has motivated more elaborated theoretical work on porn; it inspired some more non-feminists and previously uninvolved feminists to expose themselves by confronting the porn & porno-chic images in newspapers, magazines and urban environment. Leaving aside the problematic dichotomies exposed in the porn studies and public opinion (free-speech / regulation – censure, private / public, porn as sexually liberating / porn as gender discriminatory practice) and the efforts to deconstruct them, the aim of the Slovenian feminist epistemology related to porn is to theoretically constitute feminist subjectivity in relation to sexuality. Porn as the subject of study and activism was just a platform, enabling us to discuss sexuality and feminist subjectivity not only academically but also in the media. Theoretical work was done by applying two concepts related to feminist “becoming” in the field of sexuality: the sexually active citizenship (“sexual citizenship”) and a woman as an “instance” of “becoming-woman”. The “becoming-woman” could comprise activities against porn, theoretical and lived inventions of sexuality and the emphatic comprehension of “the other” woman,[3] though she is the consumer of misogynous porn or porno starlet.

 

Independent researcher in sociology and social and cultural anthropology, research fellow of the Centre for Social Psychology, Faculty of Social Sciences, University Of Ljubljana, Ljubljana Graduate School of the Humanities, and the Centre for Media Policy, Peace

Misrecognition, Media and…Discrimination?

Karla Pérez Portilla

 

The research tries to find out whether or not anti-discrimination law could do something to challenge the production and reproduction of demeaning stereotypical representations in the media.

 

Civil society, the international community and a broad part of academia have identified ways in which the media makes a considerable contribution to discrimination via the production and reproduction of demeaning stereotypical depictions and various forms of degrading representation. Examples can be found in tabloid reports, images, widely available racist and sexist advertising and programming. This research suggests calling such phenomenon ‘discrimination through expressive means’, DEM.

 

The law has been hesitant to act in these issues. Very often this is because, in the light of other fundamental rights, including the freedom and pluralism of the media, it has been deemed inappropriate to address these issues.[1] The various international instruments that have to some extent addressed the issue of DEM often provide no more than recommendations that have sought to encourage the media to avoid discriminatory content, whilst asking governments to involve the media positively in development and social issues.[1] States are often required to strike a balance between the protection of individual rights on the one hand and freedom of expression on the other.[1] The problem regarding DEM is that balance can only be struck if there are two clearly identified rights with equal value. Freedom of expression is a constitutionally/statutorily recognised right whereas it is not clear whether or not equality rights extend their protection against discriminatory cultural representation.

 

Even though discrimination is not just a spontaneous maldistribution of goods and services and that there is discrimination in both distribution and recognition, equality rights are predominantly distributive oriented. They tend to be merely focused on securing employment opportunities and in accessing goods and services while ignoring the causes and consequences of discrimination and its structural, cultural, institutional and personal ‘pillars’.

 

Given this scenario, the main objectives of the paper are to;

 

justify that DEM is a problem;

locate discriminatory representation within a broader framework of discrimination;

describe the way in which DEM as a problem has been dealt with and by whom;

determine what the role of anti-discrimination law could be in the redress of DEM.

 

The paper will be using political theory arguments, especially issues around the idea of misrecognition, theories of justice, sociological and legal arguments. The media ‘products’ that inspire this research are the subtle but nonetheless insidious forms of demeaning representation found in advertising, tabloids and so on. I do not focus only on pornography, which is often an extreme form of degrading representation, but in everyday images and messages widely available and hardly ever challenged by the law. Thus, my legal approach is critical. It questions why the law has not acted in these issues and why it should.

 

Karla Pérez Portilla. PhD student in University College London, Laws Faculty from October 2007 under the supervision of Colm O’Cinneide and Alison Diduck. She has published in Mexico in the field of anti-discrimination law and economic, social and cultural rights. Her first book has now reached a second edition. It analyses and exemplifies the implications of the principle of equality in law, Principio de Igualdad: Alcances y Perspectivas, 2nd ed., Porrua-Mexico, 2007. She is currently based in London completing a PhD dissertation and contributing as a tutor for the LLB course on World Legal Orders.

 

“Now that’s solid evidence!” Hard-Core Porn and the Biopolitical Penis

Stephen Maddison University of East London

This paper identifies concurrent trends in the forms of representation found in contemporary pornography, and in the kinds of ideology produced by the biomedical industry, specifically in relation to the form and function of the penis. The rise of Viagra culture has been described as “the second sexual revolution” and promises the availability of phallic embodiment for all men. But this embodiment determines economic, as well as sexual subjectivity. At the same time, with the rise of gonzo genres and independent modes of production and distribution, hard core pornography increasingly offers an industrialised understanding of sexual bodies, and a narrative of sexual acts no longer determined by Kinseyian logic. Here detumescence doesn’t exist and penises are always hard, and always large. This spectacle determines not only new standards of sexual performativity, but offers a myth of freedom tied to biological and economic reproductivity. This paper argues that the logic informing sexual biosciences is pornographic rather than medical, and that the logic informing the pornographic penis is economic rather than libidinal, and concludes with an attempt to map a contemporary biopolitics of the penis.

 

Stephen Maddison is Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of East London. He teaches on a range of Units in the School of Social Sciences, Media and Cultural Studiesas well as working as Course Tutor on the Cultural Studies degree programme. As well as running units in levels two and three such as ‘Sexual Cultures’, ‘Lesbian and Gay Cultures’ and ‘Research Methods and Dissertation’, Stephen has chosen to specialise in the delivery of level one of the Cultural Studies programme, where he is committed to maintaining an innovative and exciting foundation in approaches to Cultural Studies, in terms of both course content and teaching methodology.

He was the plenary speaker at the Transformations in Culture and Society Conference in Brussels in December 2002, and gave a paper at the European Sociological Association Conference in Murcia in September 2003. His book, Fags, Hags and Queer Sisters: Gender Dissent and Heterosocial Bonds in Gay Cutlure was published in London by Macmillan and in New York by St. Martin’s Press in 2000. He has published articles in journals such as Textual Practice and New Formations.

 

Veiled Pornography: Patterns and Consumption of Pornography in the Middle East

Sarah Michelle Leonard

 

The veil is not just religious symbol; it is a political and social tool that carries a host of meanings. Thus the incorporation of the veil into Arab-produced amateur and professional pornographic material calls into question many issues concerning agency, sexual mores, and symbolic violence in the Middle East. In my paper, I will examine the trend of munaqqabah (veiled) pornography, and will review some of the statistics related to the consumption of pornography specific to the region as a whole. In doing so, some indicative conclusions regarding the effects of the worsening socio-economic situation for Arab youth will be made; I also hope to inspire further research into this neglected area.

 

Pornography is considered immoral by the vast majority of people and institutions in the Middle East. And yet there is considerable evidence that for certain segments of the population- namely males between the ages of 15-30- pornography is widely consumed and even produced. For example, Egypt typically ranks among the top countries searching the Internet for the term “sex”; a 2007 survey found that 70 percent of files on Saudi Arabian teenager’s phones were pornographic in nature. These statistics echo wider regional trends concerning the consumption of pornographic material. Furthermore, the amount of amateur pornography being produced and disseminated from the region has been steadily growing thanks to file sharing websites and other technology like video-enabled mobile phones.

 

The vast majority of pornography comes from web-based sources. Given the language barrier that prohibits many Middle Eastern Internet users from accessing western-based pornographic websites, a number of Arabic-language message boards and chat sites have been set up to fill this gap. Users to these sites not only post western-produced pornography, but are increasingly posting material specific to the region; it is on these sites that one can find munaqqabah pornography easily.

 

When reviewing munaqqabah pornography, it becomes clear that the veil serves both practical purposes and as a sexualized object. Indeed, given the loaded nature of the veil, it can be seen in direct opposition to the prevailing institutional and social status-quo. Munaqqabah pornography comes in a variety of forms, from video clips that are passed between mobile phones to still photos posted on message boards. And while some are clearly western in origin (a veiled, naked women dressed as a suicide bomber for example), most appear to be specific to the region.

 

If we analyze munaqqabah pornography in context, troubling issues appear. Although the argument can be made that munaqqabah pornography is not inherently dangerous, it is often situated in the midst of highly misogynistic and violent western pornography. Secondly, the regional gender restrictions have severely limited the amount of contact between the sexes. Thus, it is plausible that for many Arab youth, pornography one of the main sources of sexual socialization. Combined with the social and economic marginalization emblematic of Arab youth, and an incredibly problematic situation is evident- youth have very few sexual options, outlets or healthy resources for sexual knowledge.

 

Sarah Michelle Leonard worked in law enforcement for five years in Seattle, Washington before moving to Egypt where she is currently completing a degree in Anthropology and Islamic Studies at the American University in Cairo. She is also studying Arabic, and her fieldwork interests include Islamic funerary ritual and the pornography of and about the Middle East.

 

 

Porno chic: does the hyper-sexualised body empower femininity in East Asia?

Dr JongMi Kim Coventry University, UK

The concept of ‘porno chic’ (McNair 2002) – arched backed, exposed breasts and simulated orgasm- is nowadays a taken-for-granted form of representation within advertising in many western countries. Advertisers believe they have to produce ever more arresting and stimulating images in order to get consumers’ attention in the crowded, sign-saturated media-scape. Hyper-sexualised imagery has increased dramatically in the last decade (Carter and Weaver 2003) in the western context. Since 1994 there has been a marked shift in the ways in which women’s bodies are depicted sexually, emphasizing pleasure, playfulness and empowerment rather than passivity or victimisation (Gill. 2007). As the present study shows, this discourse operates also in the Asian context such as Singapor, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China. In particular, current ads representing hyper-sexualised female bodies are a popular phenomenon in South Korea. Young women are no longer presented as passive sex objects, but as active sexual subjects, who desire to participate enthusiastically in practices and forms of self-presentation that older feminist generations regarded as connected to subordination. This hyper-sexualised body image causes huge controversy amongst many social commentators and feminist scholars with regard to how to understand this explosive concept in relation to current postfeminist debates.This paper will both document and examine the shift in the media-scape and feminist perspectives in the Asian context. It will also examine the newly emergent image, pornochic of the Asian advertising and its implication for transformed femininities within the hegemony of a neo-liberal form of governance in global cultural context.

 

Dr JongMi Kim is a senior lecturer at the Department of Media and Communication, Coventry University. She received her PhD on global media, audiences and transformative identities at the Gender Institute of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her main research areas are women’s identities, postcolonialism and new femininity in East-Asian counties. She is currently working on new femininity and feminism: The case of the Missy in South Korea.

 

[1] The notion of mainstream is meant to be opposed to alternative representations of sex or postmodern genres of pornography, like post porn or queer porn, which partly can be regarded as meta-porn.

[2] The problem is that provisions for protecting women against pornographic gender discrimination are not developed and/or are not functional.

[3] The theoretical work was inspired by R. Braidotti, J. Butler, G. Deleuse & F. Guattari, H. Bergson.