Pornography as entertainment

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Continuum, 2012, 26 (4), pp. 541 - 552
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For the majority of its producers and consumers, pornography functions as entertainment rather than art. This paper draws on my recent work mapping out entertainment as an area of study (for the new Entertainment Industries programme at Queensland University of Technology) to explore what it means for this object of study to treat it as adult entertainment. Entertainment is audience-centred culture. It is commonly based around characters and story. It encourages seriality, and is unafraid of adaptation. Its dominant mode is fun, its favourite narrative resolution the happy ending. It commonly encourages audience activity and its aesthetics are organized around fast-moving, vulgar spectacle. Its primary purpose is to create an emotional response. In this article I test mainstream pornography against each of these characteristics as a way of mapping out the shape of pornography as it functions in its everyday form, and explain the advantages of such an approach. © 2012 Taylor & Francis Group.
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