World Made Sexy: Freud to Madonna

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9780802094667: World Made Sexy: Freud to Madonna

The cult of eroticism is a pervasive force in modern society, affecting almost every aspect of our daily lives. In this book, Paul Rutherford argues that this phenomenon is a product of one of the major commercial and political enterprises of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: the creation of desire - for sex, for wealth, and for entertainment.

A World Made Sexy examines museum exhibitions, art, books, magazines, films, and television to explore the popular rise of eroticism in America and across the developed world. Starting with a brief foray into the history of pornography, Rutherford goes on to explore a sexual liberation movement shaped by the ideas of Marx and Freud, the erotic styles of Salvador Dali and pop art, the pioneering use of publicity as erotica by Playboy and other media, and the growing concerns of cultural critics over the emergence of a regime of stimulation. In one case study, Rutherford pairs James Bond and Madonna in order to examine the link between sex and aggression. He details how television advertising after 1980 constructed a theatre of the libido to entice the buying public, and concludes by situating the cultivation of eroticism in the wider context of Michel Foucault's views on social power and governmentality, and specifically how they relate to sexuality, during the modern era.

A World Made Sexy is about power and pleasure, emancipation and domination, and the relationship between the personal passions and social controls that have crafted desire.

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From the Back Cover:

'"A World Made Sexy" explores what the author refers to as the Eros project - the mainstreaming of blatant sexuality in modern culture as a mechanism both of liberation and domination. It is a study that will appeal to anyone interested in understanding the character of modernity and the place of sexuality within it, and to specialists in advertising, many of whom will be familiar with the author's previous works. Rutherford's writing is clear and accessible and brings home the transgressive power of the subject matter.'-Keith Walden, Department of History, Trent University

About the Author:

Paul Rutherford is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Toronto.

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