Pornography in a Free Society deals with what has been called the "civil war over smut." The past two decades have been high seasons for pornography commissions. They were appointed in the United States in 1968, in Great Britain in 1977, in Canada in 1985, and in the United States again in 1985. In the United States, the report of the first commission was denounced as a pornographer's charter and that of the second as a reflection of the moral militancy of the Reagan counterrevolution. The authors look at the problems of pornography in a broader perspective than that of partisan political debate. They explain why it has become so controversial and divisive an issue in Western nations in recent decades. They discuss the radical feminist challenge to pornography and the question of pornography and children. Considering likely future developments, the authors argue that the furor over pornography and the appointment of commissions are part of a "ceremony of adjustment" to widespread availability of sexually explicit material and they predict less social concern about pornography as time passes. Franklin E. Zimring is Professor of Law and Director of the Earl Warren Legal Institute. Gordon Hawkins is Senior Fellow, Earl Warren Legal Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. Together they have written Capital Punishment and the American Agenda (1986), and The Citizen's Guide to Gun Control (1987).
"This is a highly informative and thought-provoking book. It makes a worthwhile contribution to our understanding of public policy and pornography." Ethics "It is certainly the best and most intelligent work about pornography for a long time." John Kaplan, Stanford Law School "[...an] intelligent and scholarly, yet easy to read work on a controversial, often emotional topic." Choice "Overall, I consider this to be not only an excellent overview of the current psychological research in the area of pornography but also an interesting and enlightening journey into the public policy area. I believe that it is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the topic from a research or policy perspective...It should be mandatory reading for everyone interested in the topic, no matter what side they consider themselves to be on in this never-ending debate." Contemporary Psychology