Download the full-sized PDF of Inverting Image and Reality: R. v. Sharpeand the Moral Panic Around Child PornographyDownload the full-sized PDF



Permanent link (DOI):


Export to: EndNote  |  Zotero  |  Mendeley


This file is in the following communities:

Equity Diversity Inclusion Community (EDI)


This file is in the following collections:

Journal Articles (Equity Diversity Inclusion)

Inverting Image and Reality: R. v. Sharpeand the Moral Panic Around Child Pornography Open Access


Author or creator
Gotell, Lise
Additional contributors
Canadian law
Moral panic
R. V. Sharpe
Child Pornography
Type of item
Journal Article (Published)
In the atmosphere of high anxiety surrounding the Supreme Court’s decision in R. v. Sharpe, abnormal and normal collide and fantasy and representation become equated with reality. It is my intent in this short article to explore the complex cultural and political conditions that give meaning to the Supreme Court’s unanimous endorsement of stiff criminal penalties for possessing sexual representations of adolescents and children. In the Criminal Code provisions on child pornography and in the discursive web woven by both the majority and minority opinions in Sharpe, anxieties about the well-being of children are being projected onto the highly symbolic target of child pornography. Any dissent is pathologized and cast into what has become an elastic category — “the pedophile.” As Weeks writes, “[m]oral panic occurs in complex societies when deep rooted and difficult to resolve social anxieties become focussed on symbolic agents that can be easily targeted.”2 There is strong evidence that we are in the midst of a moral panic around child pornography, the contours of which require careful analysis.
Date created
License information
© 2002 Lise Gotell. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
Citation for previous publication
Gotell, L. (2002). Inverting Image and Reality: R. v. Sharpeand the Moral Panic Around Child Pornography. Constitutional FORUM, 12(1), 123-136.
Link to related item

File Details

Date Uploaded
Date Modified
Audit Status
Audits have not yet been run on this file.
File format: pdf (Portable Document Format)
Mime type: application/pdf
File size: 558206
Last modified: 2016:11:08 16:32:27-07:00
Filename: CF_12_1_9.pdf
Original checksum: 1ad0b4ab779ec9d65580c9cdcc3894e0
Well formed: true
Valid: true
Page count: 14
Activity of users you follow
User Activity Date