Whose Protection? Age of Consent in Canada and Australia and the Global Policing of Child Pornography

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Date(s) - 13 Mar 2013
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Room E457

Dr Carol Dauda, Associate Professor, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Abstract: The response in both Canada and Australia in meeting obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography has been to augment domestic age of consent laws and promote the coordination of global policing of child pornography. Employing a scalar analysis that does not separate the international from the national and local levels but looks at their inter-relatedness, this presentation offers a comparative analysis of the contemporary regulation of young people’s sexuality in Australia and Canada in relation to the global policing of child pornography. I argue that the strategy of global policing ignores the complex issues of child abuse as well as the issue of young people’s autonomy and this ties into the idea of ‘protection’ as an idealized and uncritically acceptable imperative. This frame of ‘protection’, in turn, is grounded in symbolic ideas of childhood in relation to adulthood (generation) within an idealized heterosexual conjugal family, ideas that fuel the domestic politics of consent legislation. Renewed regulation takes place within a complex set of ideas, attitudes and relationships through which political actors exploit, reproduce or change the characterization of young people as incompetent and vulnerable or as having the capacity for increased autonomy, judgment and agency. The evidence presented demonstrates that multi-scalar interaction favouring paternalistic policing may protect both the ideals and the political obligations of state and police but it ignores young people’s agency and distracts attention from policies that might address inequalities of class, race, gender, generation and sexuality.

Bio: Carol Dauda is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.  Her current research is centered on the study of gender and moral regulation in liberal democracies comparatively. The study is aimed at understanding the role of the state in moral regulation historically as well as in contemporary politics and the implications for gender identity and equality. The research is focused on the ideational dimension of public policy and more specifically on how powerful symbols of childhood in relation to adulthood (generation) shape and are shaped by the recent legislation on the age of consent in Canada, the UK  the US and Australia and how the frame of ‘protection’ based on these symbolic meanings has an impact on other areas of policy-making.

Wednesday 13th March 2013 1:00-2:00pm Room E457 (4th Floor, Menzies Bldng 11, Monash Univ. Clayton)

RSVP Danielle.Tyson@monash.edu Monday 11th March 2013