Carnal Resonance: Affect and Online Pornography
Digital production tools and online networks have dramatically increased the generalvisibility, 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, SusannaPaasonen moves beyond the usual debates over the legal, political, and moral aspects of pornographyto 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 ofaffect as gut reactions, intensities of experience, bodily sensations, resonances, and ambiguousfeelings. She links these investigations to considerations of methodology (ways of theorizing andanalyzing online porn and affect), questions of materiality (bodies, technologies, andinscriptions), and the evolution of online pornography.[cut last sentence for catalog if nec.]Paasonen dicusses the development of online porn, focusing on the figure of the porn consumer, andconsiders user-generated content and amateur porn. She maps out the modality of online porn ashyperbolic, excessive, stylized, and repetitive, arguing that literal readings of the genremisunderstand its dynamics and appeal. And she analyzes viral videos and extreme and shockpornogaphy, 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 andnetworked communications in particular--in the forms that porn takes, the resonances it stirs, andthe experiences it makes possible.
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