Pornography and Postmodernism

Pornography and Postmodernism | Aura SCHUSSLER

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the fact that the consumption phenomenon constitutes a characteristic of postmodern culture, in this case played by the process of objectification of the body, under the auspices of pornography. The concept of ‘cultural recycling’ analyzed by Jean Baudrillard brings out not only the undermining of the values of cultural and historical tradition by postmodern culture, but also the establishment of reference systems built around simulation and simulacrum, making possible the capitalization of pornography in the name of advertising and sexual entertainment. With this process of body objectification, especially with the female gender body, pornography becomes the cultural fetish the mass culture needs. ‘Sexual solipsism’, analyzed by Rae Langton, within whose limits this objectification mechanism is being built, is helped by the shift in paradigm produced between soul and body, the body being the one taking the soul’s place and governing the cultural-human existence, through a mechanical deconstruction of sexuality and a technological fetishism, as we see in J. Ballard’s novel, Crash or in the homonymous film directed by David Cronenberg. The manipulative mechanism through which the pornographic device infiltrates mass culture environments makes it present in art, in the form of a presence, through absence for starters, given by what Brian McNair conceptually calls ‘porno-chic’. And then, through ‘pornographic imagination’, analyzed by Susan Sontag, pornography enters postmodern culture and constituted a way of life for the contemporary individual.

Keywords: postmodernism, pornography, consumerism, fetishism, ‘sexual solipsism’, objectification, mass culture, ‘hyperreality’, ‘pornographic imagination’.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18662/po/2013.0403.01

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Pornography and Postmodernism

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