Child Pornography in the Digital Age: A Conceptual Muddle

Claire Benn

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    New technologies allow us to act in new ways. We therefore often need to extend an existing policy to govern that new behaviour or create a new policy to do so. However, this is not always a straightforward matter, because technological developments often give rise to ‘conceptual muddles’: the concepts at the very heart of existing policies either do not clearly apply or have to be redefined. New technologies for producing, storing and viewing child pornography have given rise to many policy vacuums, which the law has tried to fill. However, these technological developments have also given rise to many conceptual muddles that have not received enough attention. In this paper, I address the ways in which technology has affected our understanding of three concepts at the heart of the category of child pornography: (i) what it means to be an image; (ii) what it means to be an image of a child; and (iii) what it means to be a sexual image of a child. I demonstrate that we need to radically reconceive these concepts and I point to some policy implications of doing so.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPornography: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
    Editors Frank Jacob
    Place of PublicationBerlin, Germany
    PublisherPeter Lang GmbH Europaeischer Verlag der Wissenschaften
    ISBN (Print)9783631792636
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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