Explanations for Internet sexual offending largely stem from the psychological sciences. In contrast, this seminar presents findings from an anthropological study based on 17 months of ethnographic fieldwork in UK group programs for online child sexual exploitation material offenders. Employing anthropological and sociological theory, focus will be placed on key elements that impacted participants’ offending, decision-making, and their demarcations between online environments and the “real” world: Internet use; constructions of boundaries; perceptions of online spaces; constructions of children and childhood; and, associated notions about changes in social norms. The presentation will then explore considerations about human interaction with and in the online world, and will question if broader aspects of this research, as well as anthropology more generally, can shed light on cybercrime, behaviours, and norms in other online contexts.


Jonah Rimer is a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Queensland and an Associate Researcher with the Young Lives Research Lab at York University. He holds a DPhil in Anthropology and an MPhil in Medical Anthropology from Oxford University, as well as Associate Fellowship with the Higher Education Academy. Prior to joining UQ in 2019, Jonah taught at Oxford alongside research positions in the Ryerson University School of Child & Youth Care and the Young Lives Research Lab. His primary research areas are cybercrime; online sexual offending; child abuse; social science of the Internet; childhood and youth studies; policy and the justice system; and qualitative, ethnographic, and digital research methods. He is particularly interested in the sociality of online spaces and impacts of digital media use.

About Anthropology Working Papers

The Working Papers in Anthropology seminar series provides a forum for dissemination of anthropological research and ideas among UQ scholars and invited researchers. All students are invited to attend the series and postgraduate students, from honours upwards, are invited to present their research. The aim is to provide opportunities for students, staff and those from outside UQ, to present and discuss their work in an informal environment.


Michie Building (09), The University of Queensland, St Lucia