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Young People and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies.

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Presentation on theme: "Young People and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies."— Presentation transcript:

1 Young People and Sexuality From Advancing Sexuality Studies: a short course on sexuality theory and research methodologies

2 2 Schedule Learning activityTime allowed Course introduction, schedule, aims, pre-reading review 65 mins Session 1. The social construction of young peoples sexualities Personal reflection & group work Mini-lecture 145 mins 120 mins 25 mins Session 2. Regulation and resistance Group work Mini-lecture 75 mins 50 mins 25 mins Session 3. Research implications Group work Mini-lecture Group work Personal reflection & group work 165 mins 45 mins 15 mins 25 mins 80 mins Wrap-up10 mins Total time: 460 mins ( just over 7.5 hours)

3 3 Module aims To: Introduce students to the socially constructed nature of young people and sexualities Explore the many structures and factors that shape young peoples sexualities Examine how young people are resisting some of the structures and factors that regulate their sexualities Review a number of approaches to research that have been used to enquire into young peoples sexualities Support students to reflect on and identify ways of furthering their professional practice regarding young peoples sexualities

4 4 Participants will: Be aware of many factors that shape young peoples sexualities Understand how young peoples sexualities are regulated –Also be able to identify ways in which young people resist dominant norms around sexuality Be able to identify a number of approaches to research, research designs and methods used, that contribute to our understanding of young people's sexualities Demonstrate what they have learned and be able to apply this to their own professional practice

5 5 Pre-reading review Group work –Each group to focus on just one pre-reading –Develop responses to focus questions (on next slide) (20 mins) –Feedback (30 mins) Allen, L. (2003) Girls want sex, boys want love: Resisting dominant discourses of (hetero) sexuality. Sexualities 6(2): Quach, T. (2008) Femininity and sexual agency among young unmarried women in Hanoi, Culture, Health and Sexuality, 10(supplement 1): S151–S161 Wight, D., Plummer, M. L., Mshana, G., Wamoyi, J., Shigongo, Z. S. and Ross, D. A. (2006) Contradictory sexual norms and expectations for young people in rural Northern Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine 62(4):

6 6 Focus questions ( Allen ): –What is a traditional (hetero)sexual discourse? How does it inform young peoples sexual behaviours & understandings? How do young people resist or challenge traditional expectations? ( Quach ): –What are the implications of viewing young womens sexualities as a problem? Can young women be viewed as agents of social change, not victims? ( Wight ): –How do different social norms on sexual behaviour create contradictions for rural young people in N. Tanzania? What are the possible implications of these contradictions?

7 7 Session 1. The social construction of young peoples sexualities

8 8 Personal reflection Thinking about your own years as a young person, please write down what factors you feel influenced your sexuality-related beliefs and practices: –When, and in what ways, did sexuality drop into view as an issue or concern or something to think about and consider? –What sorts of truths did you learn about your sexuality? –What led to the development or construction of these truths? –What implications did this have for your own sense of self or identity with regard to your sexuality ? (15 mins)

9 9 Who are young people? UN:Everyone between the ages of UN (2007) World Youth Report Geneva: UN UNICEF: Everyone between the ages of UNICEF (2009: 2) HIV prevention with young people: The key to tackling the epidemic WHO: Everyone between the ages of WHO (2001: 2) The second decade: Improving adolescent health and development Commonwealth: Everyone between the ages of Commonwealth Secretariat

10 10 Who are young people? Allen (2003)Aged 17-19, at school or in employment training Quach (2008)Aged 25-34, unmarried women, educated and working Wight et al. (2006)Mainly aged 18-21, out of school, unmarried

11 11 Representations Group discussion focus questions: –Does the UN notion of young people exist in your culture? –What is the current political and legal context regarding young people and sexuality? Legal age of consent? Same-sex sexual activity? Sex education? (30 mins) Share examples of local representations of young people –Why did you choose to bring this representation, and what does it say about young people and sexuality? (20 mins) Feedback (20 mins)

12 12 Representations Group work –Read the Executive Summary of the World Bank Working Paper by Barker & Ricardo (2005) Young Men and the Construction of Masculinity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Implications for HIV/AIDS, Conflict, and Violence –On a piece of flipchart paper, identify five points the authors make about the way young peoples and, specifically, young mens, sexualities are shaped (20 mins) Review work & feedback (15 mins)

13 13 Notions of youth sexuality are historically produced, and strongly influenced by political, legal and moral discourses Children are largely understood to be asexual (Renold, 2007) Young peoples sexualities shaped through cultural norms around gender (Allen, 2003; Wight et al., 2006, Barker & Ricardo, 2005) –Woman/man and homosexual/heterosexual binaries –Salad and Cabbage girls in Harare (Pattman, 2005) Globalisation, internet, migration Lecture

14 14 Socio-economic and socio-cultural class (Higgins & Sun 2007; Renold, 2007) Generational differences / changes in youth-adult transitions Heterogeneity of young peoples sexuality –Despite heteronormativity –Despite stereotypes of masculinity and femininity The socially constructed nature of the concept of youth increases vulnerability to poor sexual health and HIV Questions? (5 mins)

15 15 Session 2. Regulation and resistance

16 16 How does regulation and resistance operate with regard to young peoples sexualities? –Break into groups Refer back to pre-readings by Allen (2003) & Quach (2008) Identify and discuss examples of ways in which: –Young peoples sexualities are regulated –Young people challenge, resist and develop different ways of doing gender and sexuality (20 mins) Feedback & brainstorm (30 mins) Group work

17 17 Sexual respectability for young women is associated with abstinence or sex in appropriate contexts; while young men should be sexually active all the time Girls want love, boys want sex It is hard for young women to be sexually pleasured Young men are the initiators of sex, young women are the gatekeepers Lecture: regulation

18 18 Lecture: resistance Young woman can, & want to, experience desire / pleasure Young men want relationships and emotional connection Potential for resistance depends on context –Structuring factors which shape young peoples sexualities –Specific spaces are more conducive Questions? (5 mins)

19 19 Session 3. Implications for practice

20 20 Research methods review Break into groups Readings to be provided: –Renold (2007): pp on the ethnographic study –Överlien, et al. (2005): pp The focus group method as a research method and method –Schäfer & Yarwood (2008): pp Empowerment through participation: the theoretical context and Empowerment through participation: methodological considerations

21 21 Focus questions: –What commonalities are there between the approaches used? –What are some of the key differences? –What might be the advantages of each approach in studying young people and sexualities? (30 mins) Feedback (15 mins)

22 22 Researching sexualities Ethnographic study –Wight et al. (2006), participant observation & group discussions Multi-method approach –Allen (2003): focus groups, interviews (1:1 & couple), questionnaire Interviews –Quach (2008): conducted a number of interviews over time Closed-question survey –Higgins & Sun (2007): survey self-administered

23 23 Commonalities across studies Interviews and focus group discussions often used for studying youth sexualities Often a focus on exploring differences Positive acknowledgement of young peoples sexuality Commitment to exploring the positive but also negative side of young peoples attitudes and experiences

24 24 Differences Size of sample Use of research teams vs. one researcher One-off data collection, or data collected over a period of time – impact on building rapport? Possibilities for triangulation Degree to which methods allow the researcher to be surprised –E.g. closed survey questions vs. ethnographic approach

25 25 Advantages of approaches Using multiple methods allow you to elicit different stories dependent on context (Allen, 2003) Focus group discussions: –Less intrusive –Young people more in control of the process –Opportunity to study the process of collective sense making and to learn the language and vocabulary used by the participants (Överlien et al., 2005: 334) –Miss individual resistances, yet possible to build collective/group resistance? –Strong analysis skills needed to study group interaction

26 26 Advantages of approaches Ethnographic approach: –Researchers have an opportunity to try and experience the world as young people do, and see what they see, as they can combine discussions and observations –Increased opportunities for developing trust –Chance discussions with those participants who might not have agreed to take part in a one-off interview

27 27 Using peer researchers (Schäfer & Yarwood, 2008): –Reduce power imbalances in the research process –Can lead to thinking about something in a slightly different way –Benefits to individuals from training received and experience of conducting research –Can relatively untrained young researchers really do what is a highly skilled profession? –Power relationships between young people exist as well Advantages of approaches

28 28 Group discussion Why should young peoples sexualities be of interest to researchers, policy-makers and practitioners? (15 mins) Read: –Pages 3-7, and the section on your region of the world, in the document UNICEF (2009), HIV Prevention with Young People: The key to tackling the epidemic Are there any further points to add to the ones you recorded together? Share three of your points with the larger group (25 mins)

29 29 Reflection Reflect on the following questions: –What aspects of your professional practice engage with young peoples sexualities (either directly with young people, or through work with other professionals or parents/carers)? –Can you see ways in which you think this module may affect your practice? –What issues/topics related to young peoples sexualities might you wish to learn more about in order to further develop your professional practice? (30 mins) Feedback & wrap up (30 mins)

30 30 Module created by: –Dr Claire Maxwell & Dr Ian Warwick, Institute of Education, University of London Short course developed by: –The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and –The International Association for the Study of Sexuality, Culture and Society (IASSCS) –With funding from The Ford Foundation Available under an Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike licence from Creative Commons

31 31 Optional assessment exercise Prepare a 500-word written response to the following questions: –What are the influences that shape young peoples sexualities in the community in which you live, or context in which you practice? –What opportunities exist for young people to actively construct their sexualities? –Do you think the learning from this module will inform your professional practice? If so, how?

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