The Social Construction of the Child Sex Offender Explored by Narrative

Helen Gavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The notion of "child sex offender" provokes aversion, but it may be that it is a social construction. We suggest that a Dominant narrative, in which child sex offenders are constructed as irredeemable, persists, despite the emergence of assumption challenging Alternative narratives. A story completion method was used to elicit themes of Dominant or Alternative narratives, theory-led thematic analysis was used to identify them. The use and analysis of narrative and free-form stories are well established in social research, but remain a novel concept in the study of offenders. The results support the persistence of the Dominant narrative with two notable exceptions. Conclusions centre on utility of the narrative method to examine offender constructions, and the pervasiveness of Dominant narratives.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)395-415
Number of pages21
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2005
Externally publishedYes


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