Added: October 25, 2008 – Last updated: October 3, 2015


Author: Katherine Beckett

Title: Culture and the Case of Child Sexual Abuse

Subtitle: -

In: The Study of Social Problems: Seven Perspectives

Edited by: Earl Rubington and Martin S. Weinberg

Place: New York and Oxford

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Year: 2003

Edition: Sixth Edition

Pages: 317-336

ISBN-10: 0195142195 (pbk.) – Find a Library: Wikipedia, WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 20th Century | American History: U.S. History | Representations: Press; Types: Child Sexual Abuse


Link: -


Author: Katherine Beckett, Department of Sociology, University of WashingtonResearchGate

Abstract: »Beckett studies stages in the media career of child sexual abuse. She analyzed articles in news magazines about child sexual abuse that had appeared over three different five-year periods. She found that different groups predominated as the claimants during each period and that they had different themes about who the "victims" were and what needed to be done about the problem. She found that personnel in the "child abuse industry" were the dominant claimants during the first five-year period, depicting children as victims and proclaiming the need for the public to end its collective denial of the problem. During the second five-year period, professionals and academics became the principal claimants and more often turned on its head the construction of who the offender was–depicting alleged child victims as the actual offenders (through coaching by their elders and false accusations). During the third five-year period, it was adult survivors and celebrities who became dominant as claimants recalling their victimization in childhood and urging others to break the silence. Beckett also describes what it is that makes some claimants more successful than others in promoting their issue.« (Source: The Study of Social Problems: Seven Perspectives. Edited by Earl Rubington et al. Sixth Edition. New York 2003: 317-318)


  Methods and Issue Packages (p. 319)
    Identification of Child Sexual Abuse Issue Packages (p. 319)
    Child Sexual Abuse Issue Packages (p. 320)
    Content Analysis (p. 321)
    Identifying Relevant Media Items (p. 324)
    Measuring Package Prominence and Sponsorship (p. 324)
  The Transformation of Media Discourse and Child Sexual Abuse (p. 326)
    1980-84 (p. 326)
    1985-1990 (p. 328)
    1991-94 (p. 329)
    Summary (p. 330)
  Accounting for the Changing Image of Child Sexual Abuse (p. 331)
    Sponsor Activities (p. 331)
    Media Practices (p. 332)
    Cultural Themes and Resources (p. 333)
  Notes (p. 334)
  References (p. 335)

Reprint of: Beckett, Katherine. »Culture and the Politics of Signification: The Case of Child Sexual Abuse.« Social Problems 43 (1996): 57-76.

Wikipedia: Child sexual abuse; Newsweek, People (magazine), Time (magazine), U.S. News & World Report