Aesthetics of consent: Reflections on the illiberal freedoms of consent culture

Cefai, Sarah. 2022. 'Aesthetics of consent: Reflections on the illiberal freedoms of consent culture'. In: Gender, Digital Culture and Consent. University of Queensland, Australia 14 July 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Within neoliberal cultures, anything that promises freedom is a powerful discursive operator. Anything that promises meritocracy, equally so. To glimpse the social and cultural changes afoot in consent culture, this paper suggests that that contemporary formations not only draw conceptual content from Western political theory and socio-legal paradigms, but an aesthetics too. Such an aesthetics is also consistent with the discursive, ideological and material conceptions of subjectivity within neoliberalism. To further unearth the social moorings at play in consent culture, this paper considers the relationship between the aesthetics of consent and those of obligation, describing our acquiescence or ambivalent assent to the interests of others. Through comparing and contrasting these terms the paper suggests that the aesthetics of obligation invoke the question of ethical relation, whereas consent promises a freedom that neoliberal heteropatriarchal societies cannot provide—precisely because consent elides the feeling of being obliged.

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Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


14 July 2022Completed

Event Location:

University of Queensland, Australia

Date range:

14 July 2022

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Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2022 09:34

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2022 09:34


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