Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography

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MIT Press, 2011 - Social Science - 321 pages
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An exploration of the modalities, affective intensities, and disturbing qualities of online pornography.

Digital production tools and online networks have dramatically increased the general visibility, accessibility, and diversity of pornography. Porn can be accessed for free, anonymously, and in a seemingly endless range of niches, styles, and formats. In Carnal Resonance, Susanna Paasonen moves beyond the usual debates over the legal, political, and moral aspects of pornography to address online porn in a media historical framework, investigating its modalities, its affect, and its visceral and disturbing qualities. Countering theorizations of pornography as emotionless, affectless, detached, and cold, Paasonen addresses experiences of porn largely through the notion of affect as gut reactions, intensities of experience, bodily sensations, resonances, and ambiguous feelings. She links these investigations to considerations of methodology (ways of theorizing and analyzing online porn and affect), questions of materiality (bodies, technologies, and inscriptions), and the evolution of online pornography.

Paasonen dicusses the development of online porn, focusing on the figure of the porn consumer, and considers user-generated content and amateur porn. She maps out the modality of online porn as hyperbolic, excessive, stylized, and repetitive, arguing that literal readings of the genre misunderstand its dynamics and appeal. And she analyzes viral videos and extreme and shock pornogaphy, arguing for the centrality of disgust and shame in the affective dynamics of porn. Paasonen's analysis makes clear the crucial role of media technologies -- digital production tools and networked communications in particular -- in the forms that porn takes, the resonances it stirs, and the experiences it makes possible.

 

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Contents

Carnal Appeal
1
2 Bad Taste Miasmic Forces and the Ubiquityof Online Porn
31
3 Amateur Wives and the Attraction of Authenticity
71
Mapping the Modalities of Online Porn
115
From Gaze to Grab and Resonance
165
Shock Sites Extremity and the Forbidden Fruit
207
The Tactile Grab of Online Pornography
251
Notes
263
References
279
Index
305
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Susanna Paasonen is Professor of Media Studies at University of Turku, Finland. She is the author of Figures of Fantasy: Internet, Women, and Cyberdiscourse.

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