Organizing Pornography, Organizing Desire

Matt Fesnak


While libraries and librarians pride themselves on their classification systems and their ability to use cataloguing systems to organize and access information, new technologies have forced changes onto the knowledge management landscape. Tagging and “trending topics” have become ubiquitous ways to organize the web, and give users a sense of control over the content presented to them. On websites like,, and, users upload content and add tags in order for other people to find it, but are often restricted in the categories available to them. This leads to what Jodi Dean (2012) calls “communicative capitalism”, wherein users are given the feelings of freedom and democracy, but actually come across many Foucaultian surveillance mechanisms and limitations. This paper specifically focuses on the role of categories and tags for the discoverability of pornographic web content, and the impact that hegemonic categorization practices have on marginalized bodies, desires, and ideas. 

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