Commodification and Phenomenology: Evading Consent in Theory Regarding Rape: John H. Bogart

Legal Theory 2 (3):253-264 (1996)
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In a recent essay, Donald Dripps advanced what he calls a “commodification theory” of rape, offered as an alternative to understanding rape in terms of lack of consent. Under the “commodification theory,” rape is understood as the expropriation of sexual services, i.e., obtaining sex through “illegitimate” means. One aim of Dripps's effort was to show the inadequacy of consent approaches to understanding rape. Robin West, while accepting Dripps's critique of consent theories, criticizes Dripps's commodification approach. In its place, West suggests a more phenomenological approach. The author argues that neither Dripps nor West offers convincing critiques of consent-based theories; the alternatives they offer presuppose the vitality of a consent-based approach to understanding rape; and that both Dripps and West consistently conflate more general moral and political issues with that of the nature of rape.

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John Bogart
University of Illinois, Chicago (PhD)


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