Porn Studies journal publishes its first issue

The academic journal has been criticised by anti-porn campaigners

It’s one of the most controversial cultural conversations in today’s society, with campaigners on both sides of the fence vehemently arguing their stance.

And on Friday, a new journal launched itself into the centre of the debate about pornography, with the release of its debut issue.

Porn Studies, published by Routledge, is a quarterly academic journal described as "the first dedicated, international, peer-reviewed journal to critically explore those cultural products and services designated as pornographic".

First announced in Summer 2013, the journal has attracted widespread media attention during a digitalised age of online porn, sexting and scantily clad women littered across public spaces.

In the introduction to the first issue, its editors-in-chief - Feona Attwood, a professor of cultural studies at Middlesex University, and Clarissa Smith, a reader in sexual cultures at the University of Sunderland - write: “Recent years have seen a resurgence of public discussions (and scares) about a series of pornography-related topics, perhaps most notably the expansions of pornography across the internet, its putative links to rape and sexual violence, and erotic life-styling or the oft-cited “sexualisation of culture.”

They write that the journal is a “scholarly” response to these discussions and a “labour of love”.

Papers published in the inaugural issue include "Deep tags: toward a quantitative analysis of online pornography", "Internationalizing porn studies" and "Porn and sex education, porn as sex education".

But the journal has been criticised for normalising and glamorising porn culture.

Gail Dines, an anti-pornography activist and professor of sociology and Women's Studies at Wheelock College, Boston, told The Observer in June that while it was vital that pornography was studied and research published, she had grave concerns about the editorial direction of the journal.

"These editors come from a pro-porn background where they deny the tons and tons of research that has been done into the negative effects of porn," she said.

"They are akin to climate-change deniers. They're taking a bit of junk science and leaping to all sorts of unfounded conclusions."

Earlier this month, Ms Dines co-hosted the Stop Porn Culture conference in London, which focused on how porn culture shapes people’s ideas about sexuality, relationships, masculinity, femininity and intimacy. 

Writing for The Independent, Ms Dines said that today’s online pornography sexualises the degradation of women’s bodies and leads to desensitisation.

“Gone are the days of women posing seductively as they coyly smile into the camera. Instead, we enter a world of sexual cruelty and abuse where anything that can be done to a woman to debase and dehumanise her, is sexualised and eroticised,” she wrote.

Facts and figure about online pornography vary widely, with some estimates saying that more than a third of the internet is made up of pornographic material. Last year, The Huffington Post reported that porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

But not everyone shares Ms Dine’s views. Also in attendance at this month’s Stop Porn Culture conference was a group of pro-porn campaigners, including the ex-porn star and pro-sex feminist campaigner Renee Richards.

Under the banner of the Sex and Censorship organisation, the group staged a protest called Don’t Censor Me!

Writing for The Independent, the organisation’s founder, Jerry Barnett, said that the protest was intended to “defend sexual freedom in Britain against a new wave of morality campaigners”.

“The speakers were unanimous: the lives of women who sell sex will not be improved by censoring pornography,” he wrote.

For the editors of Porn Studies, it is this very divide in opinion which has prompted their publication of the journal, which they hope can become “a space in which debate and argument can flourish without rehearsing the same old arguments of the porn debates”.

The journal is freely available online for a limited period, meaning that anyone can read all of the papers included in the inaugural issue.

And so the conversation rumbles on.

Read more: Stop Porn Culture
Let those involved in porn speak for themselves
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
On set of the Secret Cinema's Back to the Future event
filmBut why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Lewis Hamilton walks back to the pit lane with his Mercedes burning in the background
Formula 1
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con
comic-con 2014
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
News
i100
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Commercial Litigation

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - SENIOR COMMERCIAL LITIGATION SO...

BI Developer - Sheffield - £35,000 ~ £40,000 DOE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

Employment Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: MANCHESTER - Senior Employment Solici...

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Day In a Page

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride