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Research centre
Communication and Computing Research Centre


Sex, Commerce, Media and Technology in Contemporary Society

The project wants to establish an international research network to investigate the new 'onscenity' of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life in order to respond to the current public debates in this area and the policy and legislative initiatives inspired by it.

Rationale and research context This project seeks support for the establishment of an international research network to investigate the new visibility or 'onscenity' of sex in commerce, culture and everyday life.

It emerges from a growing number of concerns focused on the accessibility of pornography and other forms of commercial sex, the normalization of sexually explicit representation in mainstream cultural forms, the role of the internet in disseminating ‘extreme’ images, and the use of communication technologies, often by young people, for sexual purposes.

It has been developed with the support of leading academics in the field and in consultation with a number of health, education and youth organizations in the UK. Based in the UK, the network will draw together scholars working in Europe, Hong Kong, the United States and Australia.

The aim of the network is to investigate a theme which is of increasing public concern and intellectual urgency; the conjunction of sex, commerce, media and technology in contemporary life.

We live in a changing landscape surrounded by media, where our use of technologies is changing the way we live and offering new opportunities and new risks.

Sex is presented as central to our experiences of identity and relationships, and it is increasingly a part of the lifestyle and leisure practices of a consumer culture where many forms of commercial sex have experienced unprecedented and global growth.

Media and communication technologies are widely used as information resources about sex, to access pornography and other sex-entertainment materials, and increasingly to fashion home made sexual representations and experience new types of sexual encounter in virtual environments.

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