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Close Encounters: Alternative Pornography, Cinematic Aesthetics, Cultural Activism

Janssen, Sara (2018) Close Encounters: Alternative Pornography, Cinematic Aesthetics, Cultural Activism. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

This dissertation examines the cultural activism of contemporary alternative pornography through a focus on its cinematic aesthetics. In recent years, a category of alternative pornography has solidified that stakes a claim to pornography as a potential vehicle for recognition, affirmation, self-definition, and community building. As a way of opening up the visual vocabulary of pornography, these films adopt a range of formal techniques and conventions from outside the realm of pornography, drawing primarily from experimental and documentary film. As a way of accounting for what constitutes the alternative in alternative pornography, this dissertation takes a two-fold approach: on the one hand, it interrogates how alternative pornography intervenes and positions itself against mainstream pornography, and on the other hand, it examines how alternative pornography draws on and engages with wider trajectories of feminist and queer filmmaking. In doing so, this dissertation brings to the fore how alternative pornography negotiates issues and concerns that are both familiar and novel to the genre of pornography and traces some of its different historical and generic lineages. Through a close analysis of a selected corpus of case-studies, this dissertation explores a variety of formal techniques and conventions, ranging from self-reflexivity, interviews, observational filmmaking, and subjective voice-over narration, to poetic and associative imagery and haptic visuality, and connects them to some of the wider themes that have informed the scholarship on pornography from the perspective of film studies, referring to topics like spectatorship and visual pleasure, the documentary impulse of pornography, and the role of fantasy and utopia in pornography. Besides film studies, the dissertation engages with feminist and queer theory as a way of accounting for the connections between the cultural activism of alternative pornography and feminist and queer politics. With its cinematic aesthetics allowing for the production of different knowledges of sex, this dissertation proposes that alternative pornography expands the possibilities of what pornography might look like, what it might say, and, finally, what it might do.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Maes, Hans
Thesis advisor: Wood, Aylish
Uncontrolled keywords: Alternative pornography, feminist pornography, queer pornography, cinematic aesthetics, cultural activism
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2019 08:10 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 09:41 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/73485 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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