Rethinking difference and sex education: from cultural inclusivity to normative diversity

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    17 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper aimed to problematise what is meant by 'difference' and consider what such a reinterpretation might mean for methodological interventions in sex education research. Our concern is the tendency for sex education research to treat difference as a set of categories to be 'added-on', such as religious difference, cultural difference and sexual plurality. The danger of this is that it leaves the normative unchallenged, confirming the hegemony of the heteronormative, unraced subject. Constructing difference as an 'add-on' fails to address how young people locate themselves in a world in which they negotiate their sexualities through complex 'glocal' routes in popular and youth culture. We argue that decentring methodological strategies are required which draw on critiques made by post-colonial and decolonising methodologies. In the first section of the paper, we review the problem of difference, and how it is considered within current debates in youth and sexualities research. This frames a reflection on rethinking our own methodological practices through a consideration of two research moments. In the conclusion, we propose a metaphorical framework to scaffold a reimagining of methodological approaches to ensure that the normative is always a question mark.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-66
    Number of pages10
    JournalSex Education: Sexuality Society and Learning
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


    • difference
    • methodology
    • sex education
    • youth


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