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Title: Close encounters : alternative pornography, cinematic aesthetics, cultural activism
Author: Janssen, Sara
ISNI:       0000 0004 7963 8540
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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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.
Supervisor: Maes, Hans ; Wood, Aylish Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available