What is the linkage between sexuality and the internet? Why is the protection of users from the ‘harm’ of pornographic content often the principal reason given to regulate the flow of information and exchange over the internet? How does it work in reality, and how does it impact on our ability to access information, form relationships, build communities, create knowledge and exercise self-determination in terms of our sexuality and sexual rights?
The “EroTICs: Exploratory Research on Sexuality and the Internet” project is a two-and-a-half year research project that aims to answer some of these questions. This edition of GenderIT.org presents some of the initial findings of the project, and highlights from each of the five county research partners in Brazil, Lebanon, South Africa, India and the United States.
The focus, space and context of each country are rich in its diversity, and yet in the reading, common threads can be seen emerging from this research area: the complexity of private/public and ‘privacy’, the slippery definitions of ‘obscene’, ‘illegal’ and ‘harmful’ content, the immense value of the internet in the articulation and realisation of sexual identities and rights especially to those who have lesser access to ‘offline’ spaces for this reason, the role of morality, culture and social surveillance in content regulation and more.
The research concludes on December 2010, and we look forward to your thoughts and reflections in this edition. Jac sm Kee, coordinator of the EroTICs research project.