Who's afraid of sex at school? The politics of researching culture, religion and sexuality at school

Article


Allen, Louisa, Rasmussen, Mary Lou, Quinlivan, Kathleen, Aspin, Clive, Sanjakdar, Fida and Bromdal, Annette. 2012. "Who's afraid of sex at school? The politics of researching culture, religion and sexuality at school." International Journal of Research and Method in Education. 37 (1), pp. 31-43. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2012.754006
Article Title

Who's afraid of sex at school? The politics of researching culture, religion and sexuality at school

ERA Journal ID20048
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsAllen, Louisa (Author), Rasmussen, Mary Lou (Author), Quinlivan, Kathleen (Author), Aspin, Clive (Author), Sanjakdar, Fida (Author) and Bromdal, Annette (Author)
Journal TitleInternational Journal of Research and Method in Education
Journal Citation37 (1), pp. 31-43
Number of Pages13
Year2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN1743-727X
1743-7288
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2012.754006
Web Address (URL)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1743727X.2012.754006
Abstract

This paper explores the methodological politics of researching at the intersections of sexuality, culture and religion in secondary schools. It draws on experiences during a project concerned with how to address cultural and religious diversity in sexuality education in Australia and New Zealand. The paper focuses on two methodological sticking points, one occurring inside academia and the other outside, in schools. The first coheres around the process of gaining ethics approval from multiple institutional committees and the second accesses schools for participation. These sticking points are conceptualized as effects of a set of discursive and material constraints which are idiosyncratic to school-based sexualities research. We argue that discourses of sexuality and young people are mobilized in both spaces and intersect with a social moment of ‘risk anxiety’ in ways that shape the methodological possibilities of the research. These discourses serve to constitute sexualities research as ‘risky’ and ‘controversial’, an image which impedes the generation of new knowledge in the field. By rendering challenges of this research visible and discursively deconstructing the reasons for them, we refuse to dismiss school-based sexualities research as ‘too hard’. Instead, we aim to keep this topic firmly on the educational research agenda by alerting researchers to its challenges so they may prepare for them.

Keywordssexualities; schooling; ethics committees; risk; multi-sited research
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390401. Comparative and cross-cultural education
500405. Religion, society and culture
390406. Gender, sexuality and education
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Byline AffiliationsUniversity of Auckland, New Zealand
Monash University
University of Canterbury, New Zealand
University of Sydney
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Funding source
Australian Research Council (ARC)
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