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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Policy, politics and porn

Smith, Clarissa (2018) Policy, politics and porn. Sexualities, 21 (8). ISSN 1363-4607

Item Type: Article


As the UK moves towards the implementation of age verification standards to limit access to pornographic websites, and MPs1 push for further and more expansive regulation, it might be useful to reflect on the kinds of arguments and research currently having greatest purchase in policy arenas. This is not necessarily to critique those arguments in detail, there isn’t space here to do that, but to draw attention to the fact that in the two decades that Sexualities has been publishing fascinating research, seemingly very little of that has translated into policy-directed activities. Despite the proliferation of researches which have emphasized the ways sexual representations and entertainments might challenge puritanical constructions of appropriate sexuality, the public narratives of pornography and other forms of mediated/monetized sex remain simplistically tied to notions of harm (particularly intensely regressive notions of harm) and effects. Policy research remains narrowly focused on presenting evidence that confirms the need for legislation and increasingly, and quite worryingly, some avowedly feminist academics, advocates and policy makers appear ever more wedded to the idea of turning to law as the main means of addressing sexual inequalities through curtailing access to images.

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Uncontrolled Keywords: Impact, legislation, policy, pornography, research
Depositing User: Clarissa Smith


Item ID: 9987
Identification Number:
ISSN: 1363-4607
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ORCID for Clarissa Smith: ORCID iD

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Date Deposited: 03 May 2019 13:01
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2020 15:48