Dr Jonah Rimer

Research Affiliate

Jonah is a Research Affiliate in the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography, an Associate Researcher of the Young Lives Research Lab at York University, and from July 2019 will be a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Queensland. Jonah completed his Doctorate in Anthropology at Oxford University in 2015. Prior to this, he did an MPhil in Medical Anthropology also at Oxford, and an undergraduate degree in Canada. His Doctoral thesis, Risk, Childhood, Morality, and the Internet: An Anthropological Study of Internet Sexual Offending, was based on 17 months of participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups in UK group programs for individuals who had downloaded illegal child abuse media. Through engaging directly with offenders and those managing them, it provided an in-depth, qualitative understanding of how Internet use and perceptions of online spaces play a key role in Internet sexual offending, and asked broader questions about online social interaction and effects on normative behaviour. Specific focus was placed on the potential factors associated with offending, participants’ relationships with the Internet, participants’ perceptions of childhood and children online and offline, and societal and institutional efforts to respond to the above. The theoretical basis for analysis included Foucauldian theory, anthropology of the Internet, and the anthropology of childhood.

Jonah’s primary research areas have been cybercrime, child abuse, social science of the Internet, childhood and youth studies, group therapeutic processes, policy and the justice system, and research methodology and ethics. He is also interested in applied anthropology, and connections between policy, practice, and academia. Before coming to Oxford, Jonah worked at a child abuse prevention and treatment agency in Canada where he conducted research about responding to victims of online sexual exploitation. This work has been disseminated by the Attorney General’s Office of Ontario, and cited in government recommendations, reports, and bills. Jonah is currently involved in teaching and research at Oxford, as well as research on projects based in Canada. This has Jonah studying multiple topics, including: the impact of digital media on young people’s lives; professional collaboration and knowledge sharing when working with child abuse media and sexual abuse; and, continued work on Internet offending. Much of this research is interdisciplinary, and with colleagues across different countries, institutions, and professional contexts.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles:

Rimer, J. R. (2019). 'In the Street They’re Real, in a Picture They’re Not': Constructions of Children and Childhood among Users of Online Child Sexual Exploitation Material. Child Abuse & Neglect, 90, 160-173.

Slane, A., Martin, J., Rimer, J. R., Eke, A. W., Sinclair, R., Charles, G., & Quayle, E. (2018). Professionals’ Perspectives on Viewing Child Sexual Abuse Images to Improve Response to Victims. Canadian Review of Sociology, 55(4), 579-596.

Rimer, J. R. (2017). Internet Sexual Offending from an Anthropological Perspective: Analysing Offender Perceptions of Online Spaces. Journal of Sexual Aggression, 23(1), 33-45.

Rimer, J. (2007). The Druze: Social Hierarchies and Group Form. Anthropolitique, 1(1), 29-44.

Books and Book Chapters:

Rimer, J. R., & Tilleczek, K. C. (2019). Digital Media, Youth, and Social Relationships. In K. C. Tilleczek & V. M. Campbell (Eds.), Youth in the Digital Age: Paradox, Promise, Predicament (pp. 113-127). Abingdon: Routledge.

Tilleczek, K. C., & Rimer, J. R. (2019). Digital Capital by/for Youth?. In K. C. Tilleczek & V. M. Campbell (Eds.), Youth in the Digital Age: Paradox, Promise, Predicament (pp. 95-112). Abingdon: Routledge.

Contributing Author: (2016). Reaching Out: Working Together to Identify and Respond to Child Victims of Abuse (2nd ed.). Toronto: Nelson Education.

Rishchynski, G., Rimer, P., & Rimer, J. (2009). Looking for Angelina: A Learning Guide on Family Violence. Toronto: Second Story Press.

Reports and Reviews:  

Rimer, J. R. (2010). Book Review. Reconceiving the Second Sex: Men, Masculinity, and Reproduction. Journal of Biosocial Science, 42(5), 699-700.

Rimer, J. (2008). Responding to Child & Youth Victims of Sexual Exploitation on the Internet: Best Practice Guidelines. Toronto: Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention.

Rimer, J. (2007). Literature Review: Responding to Child & Youth Victims of Sexual Exploitation on the Internet. Toronto: Boost Child Abuse Prevention & Intervention.

Invited Seminars, Presentations, and Workshops

2019, April 3 & 4 (with W. Kelly). Digital Research Methods for Qualitative Social Science. Workshops for Picker Institute Europe, Oxford.

2017, November 29. Anthropology, Ethnography, and the Study of Online Sexual Offending. Oxford Digital Ethnography Group Seminar Series, Oxford University.

2017, November 23. Sexual Exploitation of Children and the Online World. International Gender Studies Centre Seminar Series, Oxford University.

2015, December 3. Anthropological Reflections about Interacting with and on the Internet. Cambridge University Social Anthropology Society Weekly Seminar Series, Cambridge University.

2015, October 26. An Anthropological Perspective on Internet Sexual Offending. Plenary presentation at the 10th Annual Ontario Provincial Strategy Multidisciplinary Training Conference (hosted by Ontario Provincial Police), Niagara Falls.

2015, May 27. Ethical and Legal Challenges in Modern Anthropological Methodology and Research. Presentation at 'The Exposed Ethnographer' Fieldwork Workshop, Cambridge University.

2015, May 18. Internet Use, Perceptions of Online Space, and Internet Sexual Offending Management and Intervention. Seminar at the Department of Social Policy & Intervention, Oxford University.

2015, May 8. An Anthropological Study of Internet Sexual Offending. Seminar for the UK Ministry of Justice, London.

2015, March 4. Conclusions from an Anthropological Study of Internet Sexual Offending. Oxford Internet Institute Brown Bag Seminar Series, Oxford University.

2014, February 13. Anthropological Insights into Internet Sexual Offending. University College London Medical Anthropology Seminar Series, University College London. 

2012, July 11. Online and Offline: Perceptions of Children and Childhood Among Internet Sexual Offenders. Half-day workshop for Toronto police, child protection workers, and school board officials, Toronto Children's Aid Society.  

2008, February 28. Responding to Child & Youth Victims of Sexual Exploitation on the Internet – Trends & Issues. Presentation to Toronto Public Health, Toronto.

Selected Conference Presentations

2018, April 19. Anthropology's Place: Impact and Interdisciplinarity in Online Sexual Offending Research. Presentation at the 'Making a Difference: Impact in the Social Sciences' Conference, Oxford.

2015, November 20. Internet Sexual Offending and the Construction of Less Disciplined Online Space. Presentation at the 114th American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver.

2013, September 27. The Mobility of Internet Sex Offenders Through Online and Offline Realms. Presentation at the European Association of Social Anthropologists’ Methodology & Mobility Conference, Oxford.   

2012, April 16. Conceptions of Childhood Among Accused Internet Sexual Offenders. Presentation at the eighth triennial BASPCAN National Congress, Queen’s University Belfast.   

2011, May 20. Conceptions of Childhood and Youth Among Accused Internet Sexual Offenders: Separating Online and Offline Realities. Human Welfare Conference IV presentation, Oxford. 

Teaching and Supervision

At Oxford, Jonah has taught undergraduates in the Archaeology & Anthropology, Human Sciences, and Egyptology & Ancient Near Eastern Studies degree programs, as well as in the Sarah Lawrence Program at Wadham College. Courses include Anthropological Analysis and Interpretation; The Anthropology of Medicine; Introduction to Anthropological Theory; Introduction to Medical Anthropology; Cultural Representations, Beliefs and Practices; The History of Anthropological Thought; and Ethnographic Methods. Jonah's postgraduate teaching has included Digital Methods and the Green Templeton College Medical Anthropology Film and Discussion Group seminar series. He has also taught and co-supervised fourth year medical school students for the Special Study Module in Medical Anthropology, and supervised Human Sciences students for their dissertations. Since 2013, Jonah has been an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

Selected Grants, Awards, and Scholarships

2014: Royal Anthropological Institute Sutasoma Award
2011: Commonwealth Scholarship Commission Research Support Grant
2011: D & E Zemenides Award for Human Welfare Research
2010: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Doctoral Fellowship
2010: Commonwealth Scholarship (Doctorate)
2008: SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Master's; declined)


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