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‘It’s Important You Don’t Smell a Suit On This Stuff’: Aesthetics and Politics in Alt Porn

Smith, Clarissa (2014) ‘It’s Important You Don’t Smell a Suit On This Stuff’: Aesthetics and Politics in Alt Porn. In: Porn After Porn. Mimesis, Udine Italy, pp. 57-81. ISBN 9788857523590

Item Type: Book Section


In this chapter I examine some of the discursive constructions of alternative (alt) and independent (indie) pornography, contemporary genres of porn facilitated by the development of the web. My interest here is in the aesthetic and ‘institutional’ politics of a number of important players in to explore the ways in which concepts such as ‘alterity’, ‘autonomy’ and ‘authenticity’ are key elements in the discursive construction of as different from ‘mainstream’ or ‘industrial’ pornographic productions and how such discursive constructions contribute to the ambivalent cultural positioning of

While porn may be central to discussions within gender and sexuality studies, its place within media studies is much more peripheral – there are few accounts which take seriously pornography’s links to wider cinematic production or as businesses producing and distributing media content - thus a critical framework has developed in which ‘pornography’ sits somehow separate from other media forms. For the most part, in the plethora of critical academic titles on film and media, pornography is almost always overlooked – where general overviews of media production or consumption do deign to make mention of porn, it is limited to passing reference to ubiquity, size and profits: for many scholars, pornography remains a marginal genre of media production. As others have noted, "in the literature on the information society and the information economy, the subject of sex, and by extension, pornography, has been undertheorised [...] despite its powerful brand, Playboy Enterprises is not spoken of in the same breath as new entrants like Internet Entertainment Group." (Cronin and Davenport, 2010: 285-292)

In this chapter I explore some of the ways in which is constructed as a subcultural form and how producers negotiate their way to respect and authority, reflecting alternative sexual politics and community allegiances within their erotic ‘vision’ or performances such that a sizeable and, crucially, commercially viable audience will recognize and appreciate them.

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Depositing User: Clarissa Smith


Item ID: 6095
ISBN: 9788857523590
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Clarissa Smith: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2016 11:48
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2020 14:45


Author: Clarissa Smith ORCID iD
Author: Clarissa Smith

University Divisions

Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries
Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries > School of Media and Communications


Media > Cinema and Film
Media > Film
Media > Media and Cultural Studies

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