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People’s Pornography

Sex and Surveillance on the Chinese Internet

 Since its establishment in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has upheld a nationwide ban on pornography, imposing harsh punishments on those caught purchasing, producing, or distributing materials deemed a violation of public morality. A provocative contribution to Chinese media studies by a well-known international media researcher, People’s Pornography offers a wide-ranging overview of the political controversies surrounding the ban, as well as a fascinating glimpse into the many distinct media subcultures that have gained widespread popularity on the Chinese Internet as a result. Rounding out this exploration of the many new tendencies in digital citizenship, pornography, and activist media cultures in the greater China region are thought-provoking interviews with individuals involved.

A timely contribution to the existing literature on sexuality, Chinese media, and Internet culture, People’s Pornography provides a unique angle on the robust voices involved in the debate over about pornography’s globalization.

203 pages | 20 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2012

Media Studies

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“An intriguing exploration of user-generated pornography, erotically-charged art, and changing sexual practices in Hong Kong and mainland China. People’s Pornography goes beyond the well-known facts of China’s attempts to censor the Internet to the often humorous and inventive efforts of Chinese netizens to jump the Great Firewall.”

Clarissa Smith, University of Sunderland, author of One for the Girls!

“Katrien Jacobs presents an engaging, sober, and controversial analysis of a pornographic culture caught among the equally fierce forces of government control, consumer culture’s manipulation, the diffusive nature of the Internet, and the citizens’ own conflicting desires. Anyone interested in China will find this book informative and eye-opening.”

Laikwan Pang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

“Katrien Jacobs is among the most curious and innovative writers on the topic of sexuality and technology working today. Most research on pornography and the Internet has focused on the West, so People’s Pornography is a very welcome addition to our understanding of both these areas. Jacobs’s book is a fascinating examination of sex, citizenship, and politics.”

Feona Attwood, Sheffield Hallam University

 “Sigel’s The People’s Porn attempts the ambitious, unglamorous, but fascinating work of drawing together for the first time an archive of handmade erotic objects made over two centuries of American history. From erotic scrimshaw made by nineteenth-century sailors to amateur polaroids, it charts a course through the ways in which apparently ‘ordinary’ men and women represented sex in all its variety—cis and trans, straight and queer, in couples or groups, with people or animals and somewhere in between—via prison pornography, pop-up erections, masturbating Santas, and feminist embroidery. In doing so, it tells a story of hidden desire that has often been overlooked.”

History Today

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: The Cyber Yellow Disaster: From the Everyday Gaze to Nation-State Espionage
Chapter 2: The Pride and Pettiness of Sex Bloggers
Chapter 3: Gender Variations on the Aching Sex Scene: Young Adult Fe/Male Responses to Explicit Media and Internet Culture
Chapter 4: Lizzy Kinsey and the Adult FriendFinders: An Ethnographic Case Study about Internet Sex and Pornographic Self-Display in Hong Kong
Chapter 5: It Runs in the Rotten Family: Queer Love Amongst Animation Fans and Costume Players


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