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Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Online Harm? Uncovering Experiences of (in)Visible Appearance-Based Trolling and Hostility

Doyle, Lauren (2024) Online Harm? Uncovering Experiences of (in)Visible Appearance-Based Trolling and Hostility. In: Disability Hate Crime: Perspective for Change. Routledge, London, p. 211. ISBN 9781032579795 (In Press)

Item Type: Book Section


Online and hatred towards disabled people remains an under-resourced area within criminological literature. An area not heavily considered within this is hate and hostility directed at disabled people because of their self-image, and more general appearance. According to Quittkat et al. (2019: 2), “body image is conceptualized as a multi-dimensional construct” of which I would argue creates an entanglement of further concerns that are to be unpicked when attempting to understand the levels of, and motivations for, online hostility directed at the body-image of disabled people. Through an intersectional lens, this chapter will explore the representation of ‘ideal appearance’ and self-esteem promoted through the online space, and the way in which a disabled person’s identity may impact the way they perceive their own body image (Tam et al., 2003; Quittkat et al., 2019; Shpigelman & Hagan, 2019); as well as the role the internet and experiences of online hate may play within this. This may be through direct experiences of hate, or indirect experiences through the representation of hate, ‘othering’ language and normalized ‘banter’ in the online space (Levin, 2013; Burch, 2018; Sherry, 2019; Johnson & West, 2022). This chapter will compose a thematic juxtaposition of intended strategies within the Draft Online Safety Bill currently being constructed by the UK Government, with existing academic literature, government reports and recent political propositions for change. The findings of this chapter highlight the need for the ontological implications of a move to criminalizing online harms, under the current England and Wales criminal justice system, to be considered in more detail. This is achieved by critically evaluating the way in which such policies will tackle hate-related incidents that perpetuate vulnerability posed specifically to disabled people accessing social media. Thereby, concluding that social media platforms remain unfit for the original purpose they were designed to fulfill as a supportive, communicative, networking tool.

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Depositing User: Lauren Doyle


Item ID: 17628
ISBN: 9781032579795
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ORCID for Lauren Doyle: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 08:00
Last Modified: 21 May 2024 08:00


Author: Lauren Doyle ORCID iD

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology
Social Sciences > Sociology
Social Sciences

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