Edited by Chris Ashford and Alexander Maine
Chapter 33: Regulating pornography: developments in evidence, theory and law
It is widely acknowledged that the study of pornography is polarised. Though much attention has been paid to the relationship between pornography and violence, significant gaps in research still exist, and analyses struggle to cover the volume and breadth of mainstream online content. Meanwhile, feminist debates on pornography have become more complex and intersectional theory has helped to direct attention to the interlocking nature of oppression, while also creating methodological challenges. This chapter examines whether recent developments suggest justifications for pornography regulation beyond the current obscenity framing. It argues that we require a deeper understanding of how mainstream online pornography situates, and is situated by, lived inequalities and the structures that maintain them. This shift in focus from a concern with obscenity and causal effects, to an interest in social inequalities and sexual scripts, can better inform a review of pornography regulation in England and Wales.
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