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Extreme Concern: Regulating 'Dangerous Pictures' in the United Kingdom

NCJ Number
Journal of Law and Society Volume: 37 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2010 Pages: 171-188
Feona Attwood; Clarissa Smith
Date Published
March 2010
18 pages
This article presents an overview of regulations and legislations instituted outlawing the possession of extreme images/pictures in the United Kingdom.
This article begins with an exploration of section 5 of the recent Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, otherwise known as the 'Dangerous Pictures Act' which outlaws the possession of 'extreme images', and the Rapid Evidence Assessment belatedly used to justify the legislation. It then examines the claims of the growth, dissemination, and widespread availability of material which 'glorifies the sexual violence' and its punitive 'effects'. This current crisis over the meanings of pornography highlights the rhetorical function of the conceptual discourse of 'pornographication', it links to problematic figurations of the consumer or viewers of explicit materials, and how the identification of 'extreme' pornography has given voice to a range of anxieties about media spectacularization of the body. The article ends by arguing that opposition to the legislation is not just a matter of protecting personal freedoms or refusing to recognize the existence of harms; instead, it proposes that academics will need to question the very parameters on which the impulses to legislate are based. (Published Abstract)