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Dr Emily Setty


Lecturer in Criminology
+44 (0)1483 686974
11 AD 03

Academic and research departments

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.

Biography

Areas of specialism

Youth; Sexual culture; Qualitative research; Sexual consent ; Digital culture

University roles and responsibilities

  • Director of Employability for the Department of Sociology
  • Employability Lead for the Department of Sociology
  • MSc Dissertation Lead for the Department of Sociology
  • Disability Liaison Officer for the Department of Sociology

Research

Research interests

Supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

Postgraduate research supervision

My teaching

My publications

Publications

Setty, E (2019). A Rights-Based Approach to Youth Sexting: Challenging Risk, Shame, and the Denial of Rights to Bodily and Sexual Expression Within Youth Digital Sexual Culture
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Educational interventions on youth sexting often focus on individual sexters or would-be sexters, and are driven by the aim of encouraging young people to abstain from producing and sharing personal sexual images. This approach has been criticised for failing to engage with the complex sociocultural context to youth sexting. Drawing upon qualitative group and one-to-one interviews with 41 young people aged 14 to 18 living in a county in south-east England, I explore young people’s perceptions and practices surrounding sexting. By taking a grounded theory approach to the research, I reveal how young people’s shaming of digitally mediated sexual self-expression shaped and was shaped by a denial of rights to bodily and sexual autonomy and integrity. This denial of rights underpinned harmful sexting practices, including violations of privacy and consent, victim blaming, and bullying. I conclude that responses to youth sexting should attend to this broader youth cultural context, emphasise the roles and responsibilities of bystanders, and encourage a collectivist digital sexual ethics based upon rights to one’s body and freedom from harm (Albury,  19(5):713–725, ; Dobson and Ringrose,  16(1):8–21, ).
New Media and Society2017Sex Education2015
Setty E (2019). Journal of Youth Studies 'Confident' and 'hot' or 'desperate' and 'cowardly'? Meanings of young men's sexting practices in youth sexting culture
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Young men tend to be constructed as being at low risk of harm and able to extract value from sexting, compared to young women. Drawing upon findings from a qualitative study exploring practices and perceptions of sexting among 14–18 year-old participants in southeast England, I discuss the meanings and norms surrounding young men’s sexting practices. I outline how these meanings and norms underpinned perceptions regarding the value available to young men through sexting. Young men were not, however, equally able to extract value and social capital through sexting, and participants discussed examples of the social shaming of young men who sext. I discuss how young men took up diverse positions with regard to masculine heterosexuality within youth sexting culture, in which they reworked and challenged the ideals and assumptions inherent to ‘hegemonic masculinity’. I draw two conclusions: firstly, it should not be assumed that young men are inherently able to gain value through sexting; secondly, narratives of risk and shame may mean that while young men distance themselves from sexting, gendered assumptions and inequalities regarding bodily and sexual expression remain.
Setty E (2018). Young people's attributions of privacy rights and obligations in youth sexting culture
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Youth sexters are considered vulnerable to privacy violations in the form of unauthorized distribution, in which sexts are distributed beyond the intended recipient without the consent of the subject. This article draws on group and one-to-one interviews with young people 14 to 18 years of age living in southeastern England to show how they constructed privacy rights and obligations in sexting. The analysis suggests that their constructions were shaped by individualistic orientations to risk management, social meanings of privacy in the “digital world,” and broader norms and values regarding gender, trust, and approved conduct of behavior in intimate relationships. The article concludes that educational and community interventions on sexting with young people should deconstruct and challenge narrow ethical frameworks regarding privacy rights and obligations, and young people’s tendency to blame and responsibilize victims of privacy violations in sexting.
Setty E (2018). Meanings of Bodily and Sexual Expression in Youth Sexting Culture: Young Women’s Negotiation of Gendered Risks and Harms
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The present paper explores how young people construct gendered social meanings and cultural norms surrounding sexual and bodily expression in youth sexting culture. Previous research suggests youth sexting is a gendered phenomenon in which young men are able to seek social capital through sexting, whereas young women are subject to social shaming and harassment. Drawing upon findings from group and one-to-one interviews with 41 young people aged 14–18, I show how constructs of risk, shame, and responsibility operated along gendered lines. Young people attributed agency and legitimacy to young men’s sexual practices, whereas young women were disempowered, denied legitimacy, and tasked with managing gendered risks of harm in youth sexting culture. I discuss how young women negotiated and navigated risk and shame and, in some instances, made space for safe, pleasurable sexting experiences despite and within these narratives. The accounts of two young women, who shared experiences sexting and social shaming, are presented to show some of the ways young women make sense of social meanings and cultural norms on individual and interpersonal levels. I conclude that challenging gendered harm requires a (re)legitimisation of feminine sexuality and bodily expression away from narratives of risk and shame.
Setty E (2018). Sexting ethics in youth digital cultures: risk, shame and the negotiation of privacy and consent
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This thesis explores young people’s perceptions and practices surrounding ‘youth sexting’, particularly regarding privacy and consent. Youth sexting – involving the production and exchange of sexual images or messages via mobile phones and other communication technologies – has attracted media attention, public concern, and research and policy focus for some time, particularly regarding the perceived harmful nature of the practice (Crofts et al., 2015). This thesis situates harmful practices in terms of breaches of privacy and consent. The research is used to advocate for progressive, harm-reduction approaches to responding to youth sexting that centralise ethics, justice and equality, and give rights to sexual and bodily expression and exploration, as well as freedom from harm. Group and one-to-one interviews with young people revealed narratives of individualism and responsibilisation regarding harmful sexting practices. Intertwined were moralising discourses about harm-avoidance, which underpinned a demarcation of deserving and undeserving victims, and promoted victim-blaming. Analyses revealed however, that risk and harm was not inherent to sexting and was shaped by norms and standards surrounding gender and sexuality, and local peer group dynamics and hierarchies. The designation of some forms of bodily and sexual expression as shameful and illegitimate shaped harmful practices and were incorporated into young people’s self-concepts in ways that both reproduced and resisted established systems of meaning. The findings suggest that rather than being caused by technology, youth sexting should be understood as a complex, negotiated practice situated within young people’s peer, digital, relational, and sexual cultures. The thesis explores young people’s perspectives on addressing youth sexting, and concludes by emphasising the need to disrupt and challenge the meanings underpinning shame and stigma, and the responsibilisation of individuals to deal with inequality and harm.
Setty E and Ringrose J (). Youth sexting Encyclopaedic Entry
Setty E (2017). REVISITING MORAL PANICS Editors: Viviene E. Cree, Gary Clapton, and Mark Smith
Setty E (2016). Book review: Thomas Crofts, Murray Lee, Alyce McGovern et al., Sexting and Young People
Setty E (2020). Risk and harm in youth sexting culture: Young people's perspectives
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This book draws upon interviews with teenage young people to explore their perspectives on risk and harm in ‘youth sexting culture’. It focuses specifically on digital sexual image-sharing among young people. It contextualises the findings in terms of the wider literature on youth sexting and the broader theoretical and conceptual debates about the phenomenon in public and academic spheres. The book explores young people’s attitudes toward and experiences of non-consensual sexting and privacy violations. It analyses the broader sociocultural context to youth sexting and discusses issues such as victim-blaming, social shaming and bullying within youth sexting culture. It reflects upon the nature of predominant approaches to responding to youth sexting (both legal and educational/pedagogic) and identifies what young people want and need when it comes to addressing risk and harm, based upon what the evidence shows about their situated realities and lived experiences. Public and academic discourse surrounding youth sexting, and the legal and educational policy responses to the phenomenon have developed and changed over recent years. The field is increasingly contested and there are ongoing debates about how to protect young people from harm while respecting their rights as individuals and encouraging them to develop into ethical sexual citizens, including within digital environments. This book presents empirical data to show how risk and harm in youth sexting culture is predicated upon a denial of rights to sexual and bodily integrity, autonomy and legitimacy.
Setty, E. (2020). Sex and consent in contemporary youth sexual culture: the ‘ideals’ and the ‘realities’
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Sexual consent has increasingly become a central component of Relationships and Sex Education. This paper draws upon findings from qualitative research conducted with teenagers in England, which explored their perspectives on consent within their contemporary youth sexual cultures, including in digital (sexting) contexts. The findings suggest that young people’s definitions of consent often did not correspond to the socially- and contextually contingent realities of negotiating and establishing consensual sex(ting). While young people’s contemporary sexual cultures may look somewhat different, longstanding gender norms and sexual scripts shaped their attitudes towards consent. The implications of the findings for RSE are discussed, including the need for more collaborative dialogue and exchange between educators and learners that engages with the situated realities of contemporary youth sexual culture.