We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Investigating Young People's Perspectives on Pornography and its Legal Regulation

LAWRENCE, MATSON (2015) Investigating Young People's Perspectives on Pornography and its Legal Regulation. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

This is the latest version of this item.

PDF (Revised version) - Accepted Version


This thesis investigates young people’s perspectives on pornography and its legal regulation. Having identified lacunas in the existing literature and empirical research base, this thesis considers three main areas: how young people define pornography; the range of pornography viewed by young people, and; young people’s perspectives on the legal regulation of pornography. In-depth interviews were conducted with eighteen young people aged 18-25 in England and Scotland, with a novel research method – Spectral Elicitation – developed and incorporated into the empirical research design.

The research found that young people’s definitions of pornography largely echo those in existing literature and legislation, and found that by establishing definitions with participants contextual unity between the thematic focus and the empirical findings of the research can be ensured. Young people had viewed a wide range of pornographic materials, with the research finding that unsolicited contacts were often regarded as a 'necessary evil' of viewing pornography. Within this, significant proportions of young people had viewed materials of a violent or ‘extreme’ nature.

With legal regulation, the research found that: young people generally thought more materials are and should be criminalised than currently are under the CJIA 2008 and the CJL(S)A 2010, with minimal support for possession offences; young people generally did not look to legislation to establish ethical precedents when negotiating access to materials, and; animated materials, depictions of rape, and perceptions of sexual consent within pornography are significant areas requiring further consideration. This research revealed that there is greater scope for qualitative research in the academic study of pornography, including utilising innovative and ethically-sound elicitation methods when investigating complex and potentially sensitive issues. This thesis recommends further empirical research on the range of materials viewed by young people and their perspectives on these materials, utilising mixed methods incorporating both large-scale surveys and further in-depth studies.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Young people, pornography, social sciences, law, CJIA 2008, CJL(S)A 2010, Spectral Elicitaton, UK
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Feb 2018 14:54

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter

Available Versions of this Item