Obscenity: A Juridical Inquiry

Publication Year



Government, politics, obscenity, behavior, pornography, sexuality


English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Law | Political Science | Sexuality and the Law | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Academicians argue about it, clergymen admonish against it, and the deprived may yearn for it. Pornography has long provoked discussion and debate, acclaim and disapproval, laughter and anger. Obscenity is as old as culture itself. Interest in it is not likely to wane.

The pornography controversy is not a paramount political issue, nor should it be. But the pros and cons of obscenity regulation are, nevertheless, significant. For a culture's obscenity may mirror its moral condition, and the existence of pornography laws must prompt consideration of the appropriate functions of human sexuality, the proper purposes of the law, and the correct role of legal institutions, such as the Supreme Court. Censorship may imperil vital freedoms, while moral laxity may threaten the society's psychic and emotional health. The problem of obscenity is not a life or death issue, but it is an important one, for it "involves far-reaching questions about the nature of our community--the ends and values by which this civil society should be governed--and it also involves the most...personal interest of human beings." Obscenity merits study.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

Department 2 Awarding Honors Status

English: Literature and Writing

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