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OxDeg: Anthropology, Ethnography, and the Study of Online Sexual Offending

Date & Time:
16:30 - 18:00,
Wednesday 29 November, 2017


This seminar explores empirical and theoretical considerations about human interaction with and in the online world. It will present findings from an ethnographic study of Internet sexual offending, which was based on 17 months of fieldwork in UK group programs for online child sexual exploitation material offenders. Focus will be placed on how Internet use, constructions of boundaries, perceptions of online spaces, and associated changes in social interaction norms played a key role in participants’ decision-making and their demarcation between online environments and the “real” world. The presentation will then explore how broader aspects of this research, as well as anthropology more generally, could potentially inform and shed light on behaviours, norms, and morality in other online contexts. Ethical and methodological issues raised by the anthropological study of online social processes and identities will also be discussed and debated. This includes considerations about how best to research online phenomena using both offline and online methods, complexities raised by openly available online public data, and questions about how researchers can know where people’s online and offline lives and sentiments converge and diverge.

The hashtag to use for tweeting about this event is #OxDeg

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  • Name: Dr Jonah Rimer
  • Affiliation: University of Oxford & Ryerson University
  • Role:
  • URL:
  • Bio: Jonah completed his Doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2015. Prior to this, he did an MPhil in Medical Anthropology also at Oxford, and an undergraduate degree in Anthropology & Sociology in Canada.  He is currently a Research Associate in the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford, and a Senior Research Associate in the School of Child & Youth Care at Ryerson University. Jonah’s primary research areas have been child abuse and online sexual offending, social science of the Internet, childhood and youth studies, the justice system, and qualitative research methods. He is also interested in connections between policy, practice, and academia, and has previous experience working at a child abuse prevention agency in Canada.