Pornography

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Daniel Linz & Neil Malamuth

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  • Communication Concepts

    This series reviews enduring concepts that have guided scholarly inquiry in communication, including their intellectual evolution and their uses in current research. Each book is designed as organized background reading for those who intend further study of the subject.

    EDITOR

    Steven H. Chaffee, Stanford University

    ASSOCIATE EDITORS

    Charles R. Berger, University of California, Davis

    Joseph N. Cappella, University of Pennsylvania

    Robert P. Hawkins, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Mark R. Levy, University of Maryland, College Park

    Neil M. Malamuth, University of California, Los Angeles

    Jack McLeod, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Peter Monge, University of Southern California

    Clifford Nass, Stanford University

    Byron Reeves, Stanford University

    Michael Schudson, University of California, San Diego

    Ellen Wartella, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

    EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

    Caroline Schooler, Stanford University

    Copyright

    View Copyright Page

    Foreword

    Each volume in the Communication Concepts series deals at length with an idea of enduring importance to the study of human communication. Through analysis and interpretation of the scholarly literature, specialists in each area explore the uses to which a major concept has been applied and also to point to promising directions for future work.

    Pornography, that is, sexually explicit communications, has fascinated and divided researchers, policymakers, and the public for years. Does it have harmful effects on individuals? What effects in particular? Does it affect everyone or just certain people? If harmful effects exist, what should society do about them? More than in almost any other area of social science, researchers have come to diametrically opposing answers to such questions.

    Knowing that such disagreement often results from using the same term to mean very different things, we asked Daniel Linz and Neil Malamuth to help the reader sort out the different meanings and their implications. Our hope was that readers made sensitive to these meanings would be better able to understand existing research, to carry out their own studies, and then to communicate their results to others.

    In this small book, Linz and Malamuth have gone far beyond our expectations, revealing a systematic interweaving of social science, morality, and the law. They describe three different perspectives on pornography—conservative/moralistic, liberal, and feminist. Each perspective has its own definition of pornography, each has a distinct research agenda with its own questions and methods, and each leads to different implications for law and public policy. That is, each of these perspectives integrates science, law, morality, and policy in particular ways that often pass unnoticed. While representatives of these positions have generally attacked one another, Linz and Malamuth are able to show the worth of each, deepening our understanding and appreciation of theory and research on pornography. Their success in revealing how science is integrated with the rest of social life should encourage communication scholars to reexamine the assumptions made about all research concepts.

    StevenH.Chaffee, Series Editor
    RobertP.Hawkins, Associate Editor
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    About the Authors

    Daniel Linz received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 1985 and is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and Chair of the Law and Society Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work focuses on testing and evaluating the social psychological assumptions embedded in legal policies concerning mass communication including such topics as pretrial publicity, libel, sexual aggression, and violence in the media. He is co-author of the book The Question of Pornography: Research Findings and Policy Implications and is author or co-author of more than 50 articles and chapters in communication, psychology, and legal books and journals.

    Neil Malamuth (Ph.D., UCLA, 1975) is Professor of Communication and of Psychology and is the Chairman of the Department of Communication at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has published more than sixty professional articles, primarily on the topics of men's antisocial behavior against women and on pornography. He edited a book titled Pornography and Sexual Aggression (with Edward Donnerstein) and a special issue of the journal of Social Issues (with Rowell Huesmann) on the subject of media violence. He is currently Associate Editor of the Journal of Research in Personality and serves on the editorial boards of Communication Research and the Journal of Sex Research. He is also a member of the National Institute of Mental Health's (NIMH) committee that reviews grant proposals in the areas of violence and of traumatic stress. He has testified on the subject of pornography before various national and foreign government commissions, including presenting testimony on behalf of the American Psychological Association before joint hearings of the U.S. Senate and Congress. In an objective analysis of eminence in social psychology that appeared in the 1992 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, he was one of seven researchers ranked in the top 100 scholars across all of the four measures of eminence used in this study. Formerly, he was on the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Manitoba, Canada.


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