Dr Jonah Rimer

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 Doctorate, entitled 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 provides an in-depth, qualitative understanding of how Internet use and perceptions of online space play a key role in Internet sexual offending, and asks broader questions about online sociality and effects on normative behaviour.    

Jonah’s Doctoral work specifically explored why and how some people in the UK engage with illegal child abuse media.  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 social science of the Internet, childhood studies, human sexuality, 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 agency in Canada, where he conducted extensive research on responding to victims of online sexual exploitation.  This research has been disseminated by the Attorney General’s Office of Ontario, and cited in various government recommendations, reports, and bills.  Jonah is currently involved in teaching at Oxford, is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Child & Youth Care at Ryerson University, a Postdoctoral Researcher on the Digital Media and Young Lives Over Time: International and Cultural Comparisons project at the University of Prince Edward Island (Principal Investigator Professor Kate Tilleczek), and a Steering Committee member for the multidisciplinary Canadian study Child Sexual Abuse Images Online: Identifying and Addressing Knowledge Gaps and Multilevel Barriers to Cross-Sectoral Responses (Principal Investigator Dr Jennifer Martin).

Selected Publications

Rimer, J. R. 'You Make it Not Real': Internet Sexual Offenders' Online and Offline Constructions of Children and Childhood. Manuscript in preparation.

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.

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

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

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

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

Selected Reports

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

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. Guest lecture 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, and school board officials, Toronto.   

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

Conference Presentations

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. 


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 The Anthropology of Medicine, Introduction to Anthropological Theory, Introduction to Medical Anthropology, and Cultural Representations, Beliefs and Practices. Jonah has also co-taught and co-supervised fourth year medical school students for the Special Study Module in Medical Anthropology, and led the Green Templeton College Medical Anthropology Film and Discussion Group seminar series.  Since 2013, he has been an Associate Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

Notable Doctoral Awards and Scholarships

(2014) Royal Anthropological Institute Sutasoma Award
(2010) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
(2010) Commonwealth Scholarship


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