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Durham Law School

Staff profile

Publication details for Professor Clare McGlynn

McGlynn, C. & Ward, I. (2014). Would John Stuart Mill have Regulated Pornography? Journal of Law and Society 41(4): 500-522.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

John Stuart Mill dominates contemporary pornography debates where he is routinely invoked as an authoritative defence against regulation. This article, by contrast, argues that a broader understanding of Mill's ethical liberalism, his utilitarianism, and his feminism casts doubt over such an assumption. New insights into Mill's approach to sex, sexual activity, and the regulation of prostitution reveal an altogether more nuanced and activist approach. We conclude that John Stuart Mill would almost certainly have accepted certain forms of pornography regulation and, in this light, we argue that Mill can provide the foundation for new, liberal justifications of some forms of pornography regulation.