January 4, 2016

A Review of Ummni Khan's Vicarious Kinks: S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary

Kyle Kirkup, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, is publishing Review of Vicarious Kinks: S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary, by Ummni Khan in volume 53 of Osgoode Hall Law Journal (2015). Here is the abstract.
Canvassing an array of texts — from recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions to Fifty Shades of Grey — Ummni Khan’s Vicarious Kinks: S/M in the Socio-Legal Imaginary aims to get to the bottom of representations of sadomasochism (s/m) in law and culture. While resisting singular definitions, practitioners of s/m tend to describe it as “appropriating social hierarchies, restaging power imbalances, and/or re-signifying pain within a consensual context.” Rather than analyzing the practice of s/m itself, however, Khan is interested in the discursive production of s/m in three key cultural sites: the psychiatric profession, the feminist sex wars of the 1980s and 1990s, and mainstream cinematic representations. After pulling apart the multiple and competing understandings of s/m in these sites, Khan directs her gaze at judicial decisions, carefully reading the Supreme Court of Canada’s pornography jurisprudence, a trilogy of cases from the United Kingdom involving consensual s/m activities, and a series of Canadian cases in areas including criminal law, family law, and human rights law.
Download the review from SSRN at the link.

More from the publisher's website here.

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