Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Pornography, Legal and Political Perspectives
Chauntelle Anne Tibbals
Written descriptions, still images, and film representations of sexual activity designed to incite erotic emotions and behaviors in persons are generally considered pornography. Many additional social and subjective elements factor into the real-world manifestations of pornography, however, rendering it considerably more complex than this basic definition suggests. Because a universal conceptualization of erotic and/or sexually stimulating does not exist, what exactly constitutes pornography is complicated by era, region, religion, sexual orientation, gender, political perspective, and so on. All texts and visual images are polysémie, with meanings contingent upon viewers' particular subjectivities. Consequently, any representation that can be considered even obliquely sexual has the potential to be considered simultaneously banal, artistic, erotic, pornographic, and obscene to different audiences. The existence of pornography and pornographic material is thus due largely to the individual perspectives of persons experiencing a particular depiction. Technology, jurisprudential regulation, and amorphous cultural climates are only some of the ...