Policing Publications: Sites of Censorship Classification Enforcement in New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis focuses on the work of policing, regulating and monitoring of New Zealand public censorship classifications. It follows the processes and agents involved in the day-to-day practices of the enforcement of the classifications given to objects by the Office of Film and Literature Classification. Responsibility for the enforcement of the classification decisions of the Office is delegated to private agents and agencies involved in supplying audiences with classified media products - cinemas, video stores, bookstores and libraries. The thesis also documents enforcement undertaken directly by public agents of the Censorship Compliance Unit. In this case enforcement is concerned with unclassified publications circulating on the Internet. The thesis argues that the networks of agents assembled for the practices of enforcement evolve as the forms of media evolve or change. The thesis focuses on the modes of interaction between agents, media and publics enacted in the different sites of the cinema, the bookstore, the video store, the library and the Internet. It documents the work of enforcement involved in the purchase of images for a fixed period of time in the fixed site of the cinema; the purchase of books from the fixed site of the bookstore; the hire of video films and video games from the fixed site of the video store; and the borrowing of books and videos from the fixed site of the public library. It contrasts the work of enforcement in these different sites with the development of new work practices involved in the interactive, fluid and seemingly intangible yet still policed site of the Internet. It documents how the responsibilities for, and the practices of, enforcement shift between public sites of enforcement to the increasingly difficult public monitoring of the private consumption of images distributed through the media of the Internet. It pays attention to how different methods and strategies of enforcement have been developed in response to both the classification and consumption of the expanding variety of mobile media and the proliferation and consumption of images in the unclassified and fluid world of the Internet.