A Doubling of the Offence?: 'Extreme' Pornography and Cultural Harm

Dymock, Alex. 2018. A Doubling of the Offence?: 'Extreme' Pornography and Cultural Harm. In: Avi Boukli and Justin Kotze, eds. Zemiology. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 165-182. ISBN 9783319763118 [Book Section]

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This chapter addresses the relationship between crime and harm by examining the passage of the criminalisation of ‘extreme’ pornography from a single case of murder to a new category-based approach to the criminalisation of possession of such images. While previous attempts to regulate pornography on the basis of harm have faltered on the basis of a lack of sufficient evidence, a new rhetoric of cultural harm featured strongly in these more recent debates. This chapter offers a critique of the ways in which cultural harm was used, drawing on Foucault’s notion of the ‘doubling of the offence’. I argue that although cultural harm appears to share some of zemiology’s features, it is often previous instances of ‘vice’ that are scrutinised in cases of violent crime antecedent to the offence itself, and it is these traces which form the basis for criminal-legal intervention. Ultimately, the chapter argues that while the ‘cultural harm’ argument with respect to pornography appears to utilise the rhetoric of zemiology, it operates instead in service of expanding crime control.

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9 May 2018Published

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19 Feb 2020 09:34

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02 Jun 2020 11:57



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