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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines fictional representations of sex crime, focusing on the construction of the paedophile in contemporary popular culture. Representations of sex crime and criminals in film and television have tended to mirror broader societal and social scientific assumptions about the nature of the crime, the consequences for victims, and appropriate reactions to offending behavior. Moreover, cinematic explorations of child sexual abuse can offer metaphorical sites to critique contemporary understandings of the causes, consequence, and reactions to the behavior. This essay situates the representation of sex crime and criminals within broader historical, cinematic, and criminological developments over the past century. The author argues that fictional representations of the paedophile constitute a type of popular criminology that can enrich and extend the boundaries of mainstream academic discourse and provide a complex understanding of the philosophical, moral, and cultural meanings of sexual offending at particular moments and places in history.

Keywords: cultural meanings, fiction, paedophile, popular culture, representation, sex crime, victims

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