Is Consent Good for Women? A Feminist Symposium on Consent Culture

Cefai, Sarah; Dymock, Alex and Serisier, Tanya. 2022. 'Is Consent Good for Women? A Feminist Symposium on Consent Culture'. In: Is Consent Good for Women? A Feminist Symposium on Consent Culture. Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom 17 June 2022. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

This symposium invites colleagues working across the spectrum of the arts, humanities and social sciences to critically examine the emergence of what, with Katherine Angel (2021), we might call “consent culture.” In recent years discourses on consent have exploded, with medicine, bioethics, and to a lesser extent law, being the greatest contributors to academic research. In contrast, cultural discourses focus squarely on sex and technology. For media discourses, consent is that by which people must orient themselves towards sex—especially, to how sex is implicated in and in turn implicates us in power/knowledge, orienting sex to power—as well as to one another. Whereas concerns about new media technologies often emphasise the more sinister, surveillant and extractive powers of governments and corporations. That is: where sex and technology are concerned, consent operates as a space of enunciation for the ethical dilemmas of living with/in power. The new social location of consent is forcefully realised where sex and technology interact, evident everywhere from the UK’s new Online Harms Bill to the controversies of Only Fans. Such debates, predominantly moral and legislative, are barely distinguishable from feminist cultural discourses that increasingly frame sexual ethics as matters of consent. Consent culture presumes a feminist vernacular; consent is presumed to be good for women. Yet these new aesthetics of consent, that attune our senses to the politics and intricacies of (non)sexual encounter, are reworking longstanding debates and discourses on power, agency and violence, with far reaching implications.

This symposium seeks to foster new and emerging scholarship that treats consent as a site of complexity requiring urgent critical attention from multidisciplinary theoretical and practitioner perspectives. Rather than specify a universal or legally obliging definition, the symposium observes transformations to the articulations of consent—to what cultures of consent are doing at this cultural conjuncture.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Other)

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


17 June 2022Completed

Event Location:

Birkbeck, University of London, United Kingdom

Date range:

17 June 2022

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Date Deposited:

23 Nov 2022 10:02

Last Modified:

23 Nov 2022 10:02


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