Violence and the Pornographic Imaginary

The Politics of Sex, Gender, and Aggression in Hardcore Pornography

By Natalie Purcell

© 2012 – Routledge

246 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415523127
pub: 2012-06-12
US Dollars$140.00
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About the Book

No cultural product reveals our collective fascination with sexual violence more candidly than popular heterosexual pornographies. They showcase scenes of intense sexual aggression and cruelty that are gendered in repetitive, patterned configurations—configurations that are designed to arouse. Purcell uses comparative critical analyses of popular pornographic movies to explore common fantasies of sexual violence and how they have changed over the past forty years. Adopting a thick descriptive approach, she moves beyond the mere observation and recording of instances of sexism and violence, elucidating the changing aesthetics, themes, and conventions of depicted sexual aggression and showing how they have emerged in specific socio-historical contexts. Purcell also draws from a range of industry publications and fan forums to examine the fabric and function of misogyny and violence in viewers’ fantasies and everyday lives. By documenting how popular pornographies have changed over time, this study sheds new light the evolving desires and anxieties of the genre’s growing U.S. audience.

Table of Contents

Selected Contents: Introduction: Violence and the Pornographic Imaginary 1. "Just Fantasy": Rethinking the Pornographic, the Fantastic, and the Real 2. Golden-Age Assaults: Heat and Hostility in 1970s Pornography 3. Romance and Rebellion: The Two Faces of 1980s Pornography 4. Expressive Bodies, Intense Encounters: Realism in 1990s Pornography 5. Banal Brutality: In Search of Extremes in 2000s Pornography 6. Sex, Gender, and Power: Aesthetics of Arousal in Contemporary Pornography 7. Body and Soul: Pleasure, Pain, and Self-Revelation in Today’s Hardcore 8.Conclusion: Pornography, Feminism, and Tomorrow’s Sexual Politics

About the Author

Natalie Purcell holds a PhD in Sociology from University of California, Santa Cruz and is currently a Presidential Management Fellow at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Cultural and Media Studies

Cultural and media studies are now well-established as important academic disciplines and are inspiring new research into a wide range of pertinent issues. This series presents outstanding research in these subjects, helping to shape the direction of future inquiry.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC018000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Men's Studies
SOC022000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Popular Culture
SOC028000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Women's Studies
SOC032000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies
SOC034000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Pornography
SOC051000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society
SOC052000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies