Study Questions 11: Th Mar 27: Pornography 1
1. How have new technologies, both production technologies and consumption technologies, reshaped the nature, demographic and availability of pornography?
2. Rich concludes his article as follows: "Moralists like to see in pornography a decline in our standards, but in truth it's an all-too-ringing affirmation of them. Porn is no more or less imaginative than much of the junk in the entertainment mainstream -- though unlike much of that junk, it does have an undeniable practical use. In that regard, anyway, there may be no other product in the entire cultural marketplace that is more explicitly American." Upon what evidence does Rich draw to come to these conclusions? Do you agree or disagree with his conclusions, and why?
3. What kind of "experimental research" has been done with regard to pornography? What, according to Jensen, are the limitations of this kind of research?
4. What alternative sources of information for evaluating possible connections between violence and pornography does Jensen recommend?
5. What conclusion does Jensen draw as to what should be done about pornography and why does he draw this conclusion? Does it matter to his conclusion what kinds of pornography he is talking about?
6. How do Boyle's arguments reinforce those of Jensen with regard to the type of research done on the effects of pornography?
7. What are the main elements of the respective feminist positions for and against censorship of pornography?
8. Why does Boyle think "effects research" is a "dubious ally" for anti-pornography activists?