Cultural Repertoires and Modern Menaces: The Media’s Racialised Coverage of Child Sexual Exploitation

  • Tina G. Patel
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)


This chapter will discuss the mass media’s coverage of child sexual exploitation (CSE) cases in Rochdale (Greater Manchester) and Rotherham (South Yorkshire). These cases gained prominent media attention in the period between 2010 and 2015. The cases involved male abusers of black and minority ethnic (BME) background, in particular of Pakistani heritage and of Muslim faith, who had been abusing young female victims. Although some of the victims were also of the same ethnic background as the abusers, media attention selectively focused on those victims who were of white ethnic background. The chapter argues that the cases were narrated entirely through a cultural repertoire and drew on older racialised panics about the brown menace and white victims. The problem here is that the crime of CSE in these locales (and others like it) became racialised—presented as a form of culturally specific deviance, rather than one about gender and power, this process of ‘browning’ not only created a newer category of the black folk devil, and thus ignored white perpetrators, but also served to marginalise all victims of such abuse. A comment on the media’s racialised (re)presentation of these CSE cases takes into account their relative power in modern society, as well as their status, along with other elites, as joint-producers of information about race and racism (van Dijk 2000: 36).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tina G. Patel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Health & SocietyUniversity of SalfordSalfordUK

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