Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

John Redekop

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This thesis examines the impact of home entertainment technologies (pay TV, home satellite dishes and video cassettes) on the ability of governments and regulatory officials to control sexually explicit materials. Information was gathered through personal interviews, a literature review and a nation-wide mail survey of 400 people selected because of their professional experience or personal interest in the topic. The first section of the thesis provides an overview of regulation in western nations. sets out the philosophical case for restrictions on sexually explicit materials from the conservative, liberal, feminist and Christian perspectives and explains the purpose of the study. A definitional section follows outlining the various definitions used for the terms "erotica" and "pornography." The third section looks at relevant issues in the literature, with particular attention to the Fraser and Badgley Reports. An examination of the history and current status of the home entertainment technologies with which the study lS concerned follows. This section outlines many of the regulatory challenges posed by VCRs. home satellite dishes and pay TV. A fifth section explains the manner in which the survey was conducted, problems experienced in the study, and survey findings. Survey results revealed a certain degree of consensus among respondents as to what constitutes "pornography", but little common understanding of the term "erotica." These findings suggest a need for new terminology. Strong support was found for the hypothesis under study, that technology is making regulation of sexually explicit materials more difficult. Also discovered in the research was: support for a federal government role in regulating sexually explicit materials, and a belief among respondents that neither federal nor provincial governments spend enough money in their efforts to regulate sexually explicit materials. While respondents don't think that Canadians are over-censored when it comes to sexually explicit materials, they tended to disapprove of the use of stringent measures to achieve a greater degree of control over sexually explicit materials, with women being more supportive of regulation than men. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the lack of will to regulate displayed by a number of agencies, what might change that situation and the restrictions on commercial activity and personal freedoms which would conceivably be necessary in order to achieve a greater degree of control over sexually explicit materials.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season