The Politics of Pornography: A Critique of Liberalism and Radical Feminism

Thornton N. (1986) The Politics of Pornography: A Critique of Liberalism and Radical Feminism. Journal of Sociology, 22 1: 25-45. doi:10.1177/144078338602200102

Author Thornton N.
Title The Politics of Pornography: A Critique of Liberalism and Radical Feminism
Journal name Journal of Sociology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1741-2978
Publication date 1986-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/144078338602200102
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 22
Issue 1
Start page 25
End page 45
Total pages 21
Language eng
Subject 3312 Sociology and Political Science
Abstract The nature and significance of pornography are controversial. Contrasting liberal, conservative and radical feminist views on the relationship between sexuality and pornography are analysed. The radical feminist definition of pornography and the associated attempt to distinguish pornography both from sexual realism and from erotica is examined. Radical feminist arguments purporting to show pornography causes sexual violence against women are criticised on the grounds that they are inconclusive, and anyway rest on the liberal way of drawing the private-public distinction. Whilst the argument that pornography is offensive may usefully be invoked to condemn the open display of hard-core and sexually violent porno graphy, it is of limited use to feminists since it too rests on the liberal private-public dichotomy, which feminists are committed to dis pensing with. There is a consistent and distinctively feminist thesis that pornography is harmful in constituting a serious moral affront to women. This argument has some force, but is flawed sometimes by confusion between the fantasy content of pornography and literal representation, sometimes by a simplistic view of how fantasy will be realised in male sexual behaviour.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import - Archived
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 14:28:30 EST by System User