Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: men possessing women – a reassessment

Bob Brecher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


I argue that Dworkin has much to teach us in today’s neo-liberal world. Her argument is not primarily a causal one, despite sometimes reading as if it were. The legal route she chose as the ground on which to fight may well be a dead end, but that does nothing to undermine the force of her underlying analysis. It may even be that pornography is less pivotal than she thought; but even then, the form of her analysis and the substance of her argument, far from being rhetorical and/or fallacious, are exactly what we need to counter the depredations of neo-liberal “common sense”. That she herself found it difficult to find a language beyond that of liberalism to express her argument is no excuse either for ignoring or misinterpreting it. In places her argument certainly remains within liberal constraints; in others, however, it is profoundly anti-liberal: but this internal tension does not detract from its pertinence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWomen and violence: the agency of victims and perpetrators
EditorsH. Widdows, H. Marway
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781137015129
ISBN (Print)9781137015112
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Bob Brecher, Andrea Dworkin’s Pornography: men possessing women – a reassessment, 2015, Palgrave Macmillan UK, reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here:


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