Cyberstalking and Sociology: A Critical Review of the Literature

Yehudis L Hirsch, Fordham University


Cyberstalking has existed for approximately fifteen years. During that time, very little social science research and virtually no sociological research have been done on it. Existing social science research focuses on who cyberstalks, who is cyberstalked, and attempts to define cyberstalking. Most of the existing literature is not generalizable due to the prevalence of undergraduates being the sole participants in studies and the widespread citing of such studies. Also, a lot of research acknowledges that there is a great correlation between intimate or former intimate partners and cyberstalking. However, there is an overwhelming lack of research exploring this correlation. Despite this, United States Attorney General Janet Reno set in motion a series of legal changes in the late 1990s to help protect internet-users. This lead to a wide discussion on how these laws could impede on the First Amendment. Many legal articles on cyberstalking focus on the laws pertaining to cyberstalking, how they are applied, and whether or not their language breaches people's First Amendment rights. In this thesis, I will present an overview of the evolution of anti-cyberstalking laws and their related issues, followed by a review and critique of the existing cyberstalking literature. I posit that sociology must be involved in the study of cyberstalking in order to foster a deeper understanding of cyberstalking, why it happens, and to remedy issues found in the existing studies through sociological methodologies and theories. Sociology's methodologies would provide generalizability, objectivity, and context for the existing demographic information. Sociological theories would fill in gaps in the literature and provide deeper understanding by asking and answering questions that would assist in explaining why cyberstalking happens.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Hirsch, Yehudis L, "Cyberstalking and Sociology: A Critical Review of the Literature" (2014). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10185195.