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AbstractThis thesis is situated across the fields of contemporary political philosophy, critical theory and feminist/gender studies. It argues that the notion of an ‘ana-aesthetic’ is required in order to provide a fuller sense of the conceptual nuances regarding pornography. The ‘ana-aesthetic’ is suggested as the ground and surface economy for this ‘unsayable something’ that is so much a part of the everyday common senses of contemporary life and art. Distinct from the ‘anti-aesthetic’, the ‘ana-aesthetic’ utilises a discursive methodology, and in sidestepping the usual moral entanglements found in attempts to analyse sexually explicit and often misogynistic pornographies, this thesis shows how the ‘ana-aesthetic’ surface of ‘the pornographical’ generates a mimetic and bodily ethics. ‘The pornographical’ is discussed in terms of its techne of comic humour, as a way of creating substance without lapsing into abyssal logics of lack; and the manner in which sexual meaning of fantasy is pleasurable, forming compressed data. The comic is suggested as something found, a cultural ‘ready-made’ gesture, of pleasure, produced through an economic expenditure of ideational mimetics (upon cathexis). This thesis suggests that through the comic, ‘the pornographical’ creates mimetic economies of witnessing. ‘The pornographical’ occupies a strange cultural position in its relationship to both the body and to technology. It is this relationship that gives ‘the pornographical’ its paradoxical ‘ana-linguistic’/’a-radical’ (without a ‘root’) structure, that generates a way of thinking that is related to and also embodies and mediates the body, without positing sexuality as an essentialism.
Mountain, Holly (2007) The pornographical: a mimetic ethics of bodies. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.