[csaa-forum] Media Regulation and the Imaginary of the Child: A Seminar with Gail Hawkes and Danielle Egan

Fran Martin f.martin at unimelb.edu.au
Wed Nov 17 13:22:38 CST 2010

Apologies for cross-posting

Media Regulation and the Imaginary of the Child: A Seminar with Gail Hawkes
and Danielle Egan

VENUE: University of Wollongong, Bld 19: 1003

DATE: Friday 10th December 2010

TIME: 10.00 am.  This seminar will be followed by a light lunch.

RSVP:  Registration is free but please rsvp for catering purposes to Dr
Robyn Morris before Friday 3 December robynm at uow.edu.au
<mailto:robynm at uow.edu.au>  .

Sexualization has emerged in the past decade as both an inexorable process
and a naturalized outcome, especially in relation to girls.  This term
carries behind it a potent mix of traditional/naturalized assumptions and
the demonization of contemporary social changes, especially those that
threaten the normative boundaries of modernity. Specifically, we identify
the dichotomous boundaries that accompanied the modernizing process in our
work -between adult and child; female and male; between the body and
rational control ­ even between the individual and society. In the discourse
of sexualisation, fear replaces systematic examination and the desire for
safeguarding trumps reason. Rapid response seems like the only acceptable
course of action because protection must be secured and policies written to
impede this catastrophe now and in the future. The ideological construction
of sexualisation as a process is, we argue, one means by which these
instabilities of a globalised social ordering of ideas and behaviours
through the medium of social network sites and communities. Consequent
demands for the protection of the young children from a range of axiomatic
risk and dangers, serve, we will suggest, as a Trojan horse for conservative
forces that seek to contain the democratizing potential of the dissolution
of the regulatory social boundaries modernity. The concept of the sexualized
child offers a potent domain through which to restore the boundaries of a
past social order and it is this that our paper will address.  We will use
examples from past and present claims for consequences of sexualisation to
suggest that this is an example of Barthes¹exnomination -  powerful
precisely because it works to create an idea as completely natural and thus
outside of history and human configuration. We will suggest that
deconstructing the claimed phenomenon of sexualisation offers a powerful
analytical tool with which to expose the dynamics of a new form of social
R. Danielle Egan is Professor and Chair of Gender and Sexuality Studies at
St. Lawrence University. She is the author of Dancing for Dollars and Paying
for Love: The Relationships between Exotic Dancers and Their Regular
Customers (2006) and co-author, with Gail Hawkes, of Theorizing the Sexual
Child (2010). In addition to her books she has co-edited anthologies,
special issues and published in journals such as Body and Society, Social
History of Medicine, Australian Feminist Studies, Continuum and Historical
Sociology. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Egan is currently in
psychoanalytic training at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis.
Gail Hawkes is Associate Professor in Sociology at the University of New
England, Armidale, NSW. She is the author of A Sociology of Sex and
Sexuality (1996, 2003); Sex and Pleasure in Western Culture (2004) Co-editor
of Perspectives in Human Sexuality (2005) and co-author of Theorising the
Sexual Child in Modernity (2010).  She continues her work with Professor
Egan on childhood sexuality by co-authoring a critical analysis of the
Œsexualisation phenomenon¹; for Polity Press in 2012.

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