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Obscene performative pornography: R v Peacock [2012] and the legal construction of same sex and gendered identities in the UK

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>3/11/2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Porn Studies
Pages (from-to)378-390
Publication statusPublished
Early online date6/10/14
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Whom? The failed prosecution in R v Peacock (2012) revealed English law to be
10 based on attempts to protect public and individual morality – ensuring that
people do not become ‘depraved and corrupted’ by the pornography they see and hear. The Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964, and the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, figure criminality upon normalized notions of ‘appropriate’ pornography and ‘appropriate’ sexual expression. A Foucaultian analysis 15 would suggest that in regulating pornography and obscenity through the lens of morality, it is the law itself that produces and creates these concepts and hence the perpetuation of ideas of ‘acceptable’ identity expression. Using Michel Foucault’s ideas on ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge’ and Judith Butler’s theories of performativity, this article suggests that the decision to prosecute Peacock was, in and of itself, an 20 act of production, creation and ‘performativity’ that contributes to the ‘regime of truth’ about pornography and obscenity.