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Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People

Issues about Democracy and Active Citizenry


Edited By Fida Sanjakdar and Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip

Critical Pedagogy, Sexuality Education and Young People presents cutting-edge empirical and theoretical research on the role of critical pedagogy in transforming sexuality education. Featuring the work of scholars from around the globe, including the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Finland, this unique collection of work expands the meaning of pedagogy in the field of sexuality education by augmenting young people’s voices and agency, and by emphasizing a democratic and civic focus. This volume identifies and interrogates theoretical frameworks based on critical theory and critical pedagogical discourses, cross-cultural studies and critical literacy to offer new ways to conceptualize critical pedagogy in sexuality education. Many of the practical classroom applications presented will engage educators and classroom teachers in the areas of curriculum design, classroom pedagogies and institutional reform. They can also be applied to the formulation and implementation of more effective policies for sexuality education involving schools, community groups and students. The chapters in this volume interrogate texts, institutions, social relations and ideologies impacting contemporary sexuality education policies and pedagogical practices, prompting a consideration of alternative models of sexuality education for today’s globalized age.

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9. Informal Sex Education: Forces That Shape Youth Identities and Practices (Pamela Dickey Young)


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9. Informal Sex Education: Forces That Shape Youth Identities and Practices



This chapter draws on data collected by Pamela Dickey Young and Heather Shipley (see Young & Shipley, 2015, Young, Shipley and Cuthbertson, 2016) and Shipley and Young (2014, 2015, 2017) in the context of a project entitled ‘Religion, Gender and Sexuality Among Youth in Canada’. This mixed-methods study collected data from 486 young adults in Canada (aged 18–25) via a survey, interviews and video diaries.1 Questions covered a range of issues concerning the topics of religion, gender and sexuality in our participants’ lives and thinking. In our interviews and video diaries, it is clear that young adults did not learn a lot about sex in their formal education, even where there was a mandated sex education curriculum, and what they did learn, was often not what they really wanted to know.

This chapter will present and analyze the main spaces where young adults learn about sexuality. In particular, in addition to looking at the formal sex education that takes places in schools, this chapter will attend to more informal forms of sex education (i.e. parents, peers, the internet and religion). Using the resources of feminism, queer theory and critical pedagogy, the chapter will examine questions of power and authority as they present themselves in our data (see, e.g., Butler, 1999; Foucault, 1990; Sanjakdar et al., 2015). It will examine...

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