Violent porn games

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New media formats and technologies raise questions about new-found abilities to indulge apparently limitless violent and sadistic curiosity within our culture. In this context, the mainstreaming of sex and violence via mobile and screen media systems opens important questions about the degree to which these influences are harmful or indicative of deeper social problems. In this article, we offer a preliminary analysis of the consequences of these new media zones, acknowledging their allure, excitement and everyday cultural position.

In particular, we focus on a distinctive hallmark of much online pornography and massively popular violent video games—the offer of unchecked encounters with others who can be subordinated to violent and sexual desire. We suggest that a key implication of these zones of cultural exception, in which social rules can be more or less abandoned, is their role in further assisting denials of harm from the perspective of hyper-masculinist and militaristic social value systems.

One key narrative regarding crime in western societies is of an ascending arc of civility and declining violence Spierenburg ; Pinker ; Muchembled These s all owe a major debt to the work of Eliaswho noted that social shifts traceable to medieval court etiquette were directly associated with an apparent truncation of the human emotional spectrum and a rise in voluntary self and social control away from passionate impulses. Our contribution in this article relates these debates to the landscape of new and developing image-spaces video games and internet pornography in which violence and harm is experienced, celebrated or produced as part of new repertoires of exceptional social conduct.

Our argument is that violent porn games media technologies provide alluring and experimental landscapes. Such experiences, available through certain strands of gaming and extreme pornography, necessitate a deepened criminological sensibility prepared to discuss physical and imagined forms of harm as they are enacted within—or bound up with—online and game spaces. Despite its hallucinatory complexity, the film was prescient in its concern with the violent porn games ubiquity and allure of sexual and ultra-violent image experiences and their positioning as commodified forms of entertainment provided by corporate entities.

The encounters between viewer and television within the home explored by Cronenberg only begins to capture the depth of the screen culture that now pervades our lives, into which we can submerge ourselves almost instantly. Instead of well-hidden broadcast channels reflecting desires that we might publicly disown, large portions of society are now exposed to pervasive internet and gaming technologies that facilitate engagement with extreme violence and sexual experiences real and simulated rapes, beheadings and executions, fights, filmed death and injuryall of which are provided by corporate entities or ed by users.

In light of this, it is crucial that cultural and critical criminologists study and keep up with what Ferrell et al. Hitherto, many researchers have focused on questions regarding how exposure to media violence might generate interpersonal aggressivity. Current debates have moved beyond direct media effects and causation to the more subtle question of whether violence and aggressive sexual norms have been promoted and influenced by media content for a summary of this literature, see Anderson et al.

Yet locating the extent and nature of such harms is difficult due to the kind of hysterical media reaction, which tends to exaggerate these harms. We acknowledge that such questions remain important but here seek instead to address questions of what the deeper cultural and social influences of highly accessible violent and sexualized media content may be.

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For criminologists such as Haywardan important first task is to ask what kind of spaces and opportunities for their are opening up with the continued development of digital technologies; and to debate both the real and imagined consequences of these new media image-spaces, especially given that much theoretical and empirical work casts these phenomena in a celebratory light Ferrell et al. The interactivity, realism and pervasiveness of online environments enable individuals to wallpaper their worlds as they choose using bespoke internet provision.

For Presdeethe combination of technology, culture and corporate drivers had already insinuated the deepening presence of sadistic voyeurism into daily social life. Yet criminologists have not been fleet of foot in coming to terms with the nature of abuse and anti-social aspects of online and interactive image-spaces generated by digital technologies.

It seems that there are at least two areas that might spur the imaginations and research of criminologists in relation to these violent porn games. The first of these relates to the material consequences of fantasy, which many practitioners have become concerned with as viewer behaviour is reshaped by online experiences that strip away the social context of viewers and assist in the denial of harm to objects witnessed in these spaces Violent porn games The second is the kind of concern that criminologists like Dorling and colleagues have with the need to develop and incorporate notions of non-criminalized harm into criminology Hillyard and Tombs Such a position lends itself well to what we call for in this article: a need to include forms of symbolic violence and humiliation, gendered and racial abuse, and the kinds of sado-voyeurism of certain media cultures within the remit of a fully functioning criminology.

In this article, we offer a reconnaissance of two spaces within the contemporary media-scape—online pornography and violent video games—that epitomize a broader patterning between digital media and the viewing of extreme violent and sexual practices that celebrate forms of social subjugation and unfeeling destruction. Nevertheless, our focus is on how such forms of media content highlight the paradox of an apparent liberation of human experience offered by networked Information Communication Technologies and their capacity to open pathways toward drive-based fascinations with anti-social and violent fantasies.

We use this term to refer to the ways in which certain networked media spaces offer the enactment or viewing of socially extreme conduct apparently without consequence or connection to everyday modes of social being and normative prescription. Through this line of enquiry, Elias proposes that social and self-constraints have erred towards a particular configuration, whereby capacities for pleasurable excitement have become subject to forms of regulation that carefully meter the risks of socially intolerable disorders and interpersonal harm.

Elias and Dunning discusses this through many examples, one of which consists in detailing fox hunting and the development of killing-by-proxy using hounds. These considerations led Elias to suggest that in the historical trajectory of social change we have witnessed a dampening or truncation of extreme fluctuations in behaviour and emotions:.

The idea that cruelty and violence may emerge under cultural conditions in which the autonomy and fulfilment of the self become paramount social demands have been recurring themes for a of analysts. This observation is similar to those made by Freud in Civilization and its Discontentswhere he contends that guilt—the effect civilization has on inhibiting aggressiveness that might otherwise prevent it—is both the most important factor in the development of civilization, yet paradoxically also a primary source of dissatisfaction Thus, the writings of Freud and Elias coalesce around a common identification of a process akin to what we term here a kind of social undertow: the seductive draw and flow of opportunities to engage in aggressively sexual and violent experiences that appears as a strong undercurrent in contemporary popular culture and digital media networks.

For Elias and Dunningthis process was directly observable in the development and sophistication of modern sports that require aggression, yet are bound by rules to limit the risks of serious injury and harm. The proliferation of commodified forms of cage and staged fighting such as Ultimate Fighting Championship and Felony Fights Salter and Tomsen offer examples of this process.

For commentators like Stieglerlate capitalism has adopted something akin to a libidinal fix in which profits from a potent mix of hedonism, greed, pain and harm are enabled. In this kind of environment, our imaginings are all the more violent and destructive as we seek new ways in which to calibrate and understand our human condition whilst also being insulated from the possible harms that such avenues might generate.

These themes were expertly handled in the underlying social commentaries offered by J. Ballard in a series of novels dealing with violence, cruelty and psychological decline in contained and affluent social spaces.

Novels like Cocaine Nights suggest that anti-social impulses are aggravated by boredom while Super Cannes glimpsed the residents of a gated community descending into a hidden life of filmed rape, murder and violent forays into the surrounding town at night, among other dryly presented atrocities. Ballard provides rich insights into this socio-cultural condition through the character Wilder Penrose, a psychotherapist. Far from simply decrying or othering the engagement in such practices, it is important to acknowledge the draw of witnessing or taking delight in pain.

Salter and Tomsen also make a similar observation about contemporary culture being replete with carnivalesque representations of violence, something which has become all the more prevalent with the advent of online technology. For Presdee and Ferrell et al. The language used to define and demarcate these digital media spaces and sites—cages, violent porn games, arenas, screens, boxes and networks—are regularly invoked to suggest the quasi-privacy of the kinds of entertainment contained within play-spaces in which conventional codes and norms violent porn games be temporarily suspended.

The architecture, content or coding of such spaces permits any conduct desired within the realms of programmed possibility and the subjugation of those found in such spaces who become, by definition, subordinate to whims and desires of player, viewer or voyeur. For cultural criminology, a key challenge is to think critically about the role and nature of such space and experience—something which, as Hayward points out, raises the importance of questions about how online space is navigated and conceived by individuals, and how communication technologies have the potential to alter the way we experience the sense of being in an environment.

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We have argued that spaces in which extreme conduct and emotions can be experienced have become defining elements of screen culture. Desire-driven conduct that is essentially private in turn becomes an increasingly visible and accessible element of public life. Two key explanatory factors in contemporary culture need to be recognized in understanding the kinds of changes we are profiling here. This tendency towards numbness needs to be recognized as being related to a desire to feel and to seek the real themes identified in the film Fight Club.

More prosaically, we might identify these currents of labouring to feel violent porn games the growing popularity of boxing by the middle-classes, diverse forms of reality TV, as well as climbing and other dangerous sports, which re-connect people to the possibility of injury or death Lyng Networked media allow and encourage this pursuit of the reality of our human condition, or meditations on the rare and extreme.

Yet perhaps we are no more authentic to ourselves than when we are immersed in these online virtual spaces and video games? Consider the interactive computer games some of us play compulsively, games which enable a neurotic weakling to adopt the screen persona of a macho aggressor, beating up other men and violently enjoying women.

But perhaps the games are more telling than that. What if, in playing them, I articulate the perverse core of my personality which, because of ethico-social constraints, I am not able to act out in real life? In the spirit of attempting to weave a common theoretical thread between seemingly distinct media spaces, we present a snapshot of two cultural zones of exception in the form of online pornography and violent video games.

This prevalence has provoked increasing analysis by sociologists, health and psychology researchers to examine the possible overspill of the effects of such usage. The industry is made up of, on the one hand, relatively mainstream suppliers of still and moving images and, on the other hand, a range of bespoke producers who respond to the aggregated market power of what were ly niche user demands and desires. Violent porn games of the research on access to online pornography has tended to focus on whether exposure generates attitudinal or behavioural changes that might be deemed problematic Wood ; Hald et al.

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However, it is also critically important to consider the kinds of victimization and exploitation implicated in the creation of images of abuse, degradation, sexual torture and violence associated with the many genres and suppliers of pornography. Under these conditions, the range of what we might include violent porn games extreme pornography needs to be recalibrated; insertions of objects, gagging and vomiting resulting from forceful oral sex, simulated rape, strangulation, anal sex and spitting have become merely choices from drop-down menus on many popular porn websites.

As Gossett and Byrne observe, the interactivity of these sites also heightens feelings of masculine control and excitement. For writers like Cachomany women in internet pornography appear as a result of an intercontinental trade in female flesh that is generated by extreme regional poverty and callous and culturally embedded attitudes towards women more generally.

Sexual violence is both the beginning and end point for forms of pornography that support the values of men who see the subjugation and usage of women as acceptable.

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Increasingly brutal portrayals online facilitate such values, as well as generate deviant and networked communities of users that help to reproduce and expand misogynistic value systems Durkin et al. The world of online porn, even though differentiated, enables elective modes of experimentation with desire, through hyperlinks, suggestions and communities of users providing posts to related or more extreme content—all of which facilitates the creation of implicit peer support communities Bray with negative attitudes.

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As Durkin and colleagues note, the rise of networked spaces has facilitated the aggregation of deviant values that generate mutual violent porn games and the denial of harm, as well as viable consumer demand for online services that either match or feed these forms of sexual expression. Our discussion here relates to these harms but more formally to a consideration of what kind of space experiences of pornography are linked to and how this may generate systemic denial of its associated harm.

Such spaces appear to act as zones of suspension in which those apprehended made available and subordinated to the unchecked desire of consumers paying for such experiences. As writers like Wood have argued, internet pornography is implicated in the case histories of increasing s of patients whose behaviour has escalated and whose worldviews have become structured by their viewing of internet pornography, which, in turn, assists in allowing the disowning of sadistic and impulsive sexual behaviour. Online sites and communities thus generate sexual licence and the legitimation of predatory and abusive sexuality.

In these zones of cultural exception, subterranean values are capable of flourishing relatively unchecked as the constraints of dominant values and social norms are rejected or loosened. Excitement and engagement within these spaces can be experienced without feelings of guilt or repulsion as they are neutralized by the sense that these spaces as remote and apparently private.

The logic of our participation is based on frequent libidinal violent porn games in which satisfaction is supported by the underwriting narratives and representations of many pornographic websites. Networked media and small-screen interfaces enable us to wallpaper our world with the things that we desire most, and it is in this space that all is permitted, or—at the very least—the illusion that such possibilities pervades. Such issues are explored in the documentary Date My Porn Star Channel 4, in which four satisfied users of hardcore pornography have their worldviews shattered by a visit to Los Angeles to speak with members of the porn production community and its actors.

Revelations of violence, of being haunted by their on-screen presence, of physical exploitation, the right exercised by some directors to have post-production sex with these women and, the most deflating realization of all, that the women find no real enjoyment while on set. Since fantasy takes precedent here, our use of such images for satisfaction requires legitimation in order to deny the possibility of victims, what Matza terms the denial of the status of victimhood. Such denial appears more forceful under the networked nature of new media since such victims appear remote or not fully real.

Such techniques of neutralization can work powerfully in assisting the analysis of violent or extreme pornography since it rests on the idea that deviance of this kind may proceed where viewers are able to sustain the belief that their behaviour is harmless in its consequences.

Scripts involving more abusive or more overtly degrading routines are provided in the belief that larger audiences can be captured through recourse to more extreme representations. Whether much of that audience is directly attracted or repelled by such content becomes irrelevant—drift into screen experiences of generally greater cruelty and callousness occur over time as pornographic experience is populated and structured in ways driven by commercial imperatives that present women as expendable in order to generate market advantage.

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