PiE 2015 Volume 33 Issue 2

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Life Orientation sexuality education in South Africa: gendered norms, justice and transformation
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Shefer, Tamara; Macleod, Catriona
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    A discourse of disconnect: young people from the Eastern Cape talk about the failure of adult communications to provide habitable sexual subject positions
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Jearey-Graham, Nicola; Macleod, Catriona
    Face-to-face adult communication with young people about sexuality is, for the most part, assigned to two main groups of people: educators tasked with teaching schoolbased sexuality education that is provided as part of the compulsory Life Orientation (LO) learning area, and parents. In this paper, we report on a study conducted with Further Education and Training College students in an Eastern Cape town. Using a discursive psychology lens, we analysed data from, first, a written question on what participants remember being taught about sexuality in LO classes and, second, focus group discussions held with mixed and same-sex groups. Discussions were structured around the sexualities of high school learners and the LO sexuality education that participants received at high school. We highlight participants’ common deployment of a ‘discourse of disconnect’ in their talk. In this discourse, the messages of ‘risk’ and ‘responsibility’ contained in adult face-to-face communications, by both parents and LO teachers, are depicted as being delivered through inadequate or nonrelational styles of communication, and as largely irrelevant to participants’ lives. Neither of these sources of communication was seen as understanding the realities of youth sexualities or as creating habitable or performable sexual subject positions. The dominance of this ‘discourse of disconnect’ has implications for how sexuality education and parent communication interventions are conducted.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Multiple femininities in a'single sex'school: re-orienting Life Orientation to learner lifeworlds
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Mthatyana, Andisiwe; Vincent, Louise
    Life Orientation sexuality education in South Africa faces many pedagogical challenges, not least among which is that it is sometimes perceived as irrelevant to learners’ real interests and concerns. Learners report that the content is repetitive and that they learn more from peers than from the reiterated lessons of risk and disease avoidance that permeate sex education messages. In this article we describe the world of the study site – a ‘single sex’ school – as consisting of diverse informal student sexual cultures in which repertoires for the development of learner sexual identities are developed, negotiated and transmitted. The study is based on detailed ethnographic immersion in the study site which generated rich data drawn from in-depth interviews, focus groups, observations and solicited narratives. We argue that even the enlightened, tolerant ‘best practice’ form of sexuality education that takes place at the study site fails to take diverse learner identities, lifeworlds and experiences seriously as a pedagogic starting point, but rather tends to homogenise learners and to impose on them what they need to learn. A more empowering form of sexuality education would take seriously how young people understand themselves as sexual subjects located in unequal (‘raced’ and classed) social contexts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Sexual socialisation in Life Orientation manuals versus popular music: responsibilisation versus pleasure, tension and complexity
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Macleod, Catriona; Moodley, Dale; Young, Lisa Saville
    This paper compares two forms of sexual socialisation to which learners are exposed: the sexuality education components of the Life Orientation (LO) manuals and the lyrical content and videos of popular songs. We performed a textual analysis of the sexual subject positions made available in, first, the LO manuals used in Grade 10 classes and, second, the two songs voted most popular by the Grade 10 learners of two diverse schools in the Eastern Cape. Of interest in this paper is whether and how these two forms of sexual socialisation – one representing state-sanctioned sexual socialisation and the other learners’ chosen cultural expression that represents informal sexual socialisation – dovetail or diverge. Against a backdrop of heterosexuality and an assumption of the ‘adolescent-in-transition’ discourse, the main sexual subject positions featured in the LO manuals are the responsible sexual subject and the sexual victim. A number of sexualised subject positions are portrayed in the songs, with these subject positions depicting sex as a site of pleasure, tension and complexity. Although these two modes of sexual socialisation use different genres of communication, we argue that learners’ choice of songs that depict fluid sexual subject positions can help to inform LO sexuality education in ways that takes learners’ preferred cultural expression seriously and that moves away from the imperative of responsibilisation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The politics of pleasure in sexuality education: pleasure bound
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Pinto, Pedro
    Abstract not available
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘I could have done everything and why not?’: young women’s complex constructions of sexual agency in the context of sexualities education in Life Orientation in South African schools
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Kruger, Lou-Marie; Shefer, Tamara; Oakes, Antoinette
    Progressive policies protecting women’s rights to make reproductive decisions and the recent increase in literature exploring female sexual agency do not appear to have impacted on more equitable sexual relations in all contexts. In South Africa, gender power inequalities, intersecting with other forms of inequality in society, pose a challenge for young women’s control over their sexual and reproductive health. The article focuses on a group of young Coloured South African women’s understandings of their sexual agency, in an attempt to explore how it is explicitly and implicitly shaped by school Life Orientation (LO) sexuality programmes. We found young women constructed their agency as simultaneously enabled and constrained in complex ways: on the one hand, the explicit communication was that they should have agency and take responsibility for themselves sexually, whereas the implicit communication seemed to convey that what they really thought and felt about sex and sexuality was not important. In addition, heteronormative gender roles, in which men are assumed to take the lead in sexual matters, appear to be reproduced in LO sexuality education messages and further complicate young women’s constructions of their sexual agency. The implications of these findings for LO sexuality programmes are discussed.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘And I have been told that there is nothing fun about having sex while you are still in high school’: dominant discourses on women’s sexual practices and desires in Life Orientation programmes at school
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Shefer, Tamara; Ngabaza, Sisa
    Young women’s sexuality is a contested terrain in multiple ways in contemporary South Africa. A growing body of work in the context of HIV and gender-based violence illustrates how young women find it challenging to negotiate safe and equitable sexual relationships with men, and are often the victims of coercive sex, unwanted early pregnancies and HIV. On the other hand, young women’s sexuality is also stigmatised and responded to in punitive terms in school or community contexts, as is evident in research on teenage pregnancy and parenting in schools. Within both these bodies of work, women’s own narratives are missing, as well as their agency and a positive discourse on female sexuality. Female desires are absent in heteronormative practices and ideologies, as pointed out by feminist researchers internationally. A body of work on young women who parent at school has shown that a key component of the moralistic response to women’s sexuality hinges on the way in which childhood, adolescence and adulthood are popularly understood, together with dominant notions of masculinity and femininity within heteronormative and middle-class notions of family. Such discourses are also salient in the responses and understandings of sexuality education in Life Orientation, particularly the way in which young women are represented. This paper draws from qualitative research conducted with teachers, school authorities and young people on sexuality education in the Life Orientation programme at schools in the Western and Eastern Cape. Key findings reiterate disciplinary responses to young women’s sexuality, often framed within ‘danger’ and ‘damage’ discourses that foreground the denial of young women’s sexual desire and practices within a framework of protection, regulation and discipline in order to avoid promised punishments of being sexually active.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gendering the foundation: teaching sexuality amid sexual danger and gender inequalities
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Bhana, Deevia
    How might Life Skills be conceptualised in the Foundation Phase of schooling when a tradition of feminist literature has revealed the regulation, denial and the silencing of both gender and sexuality in early childhood? This article presents one Grade 2 teacher’s perspective of addressing sexuality education in an impoverished township primary school. Disrupting the tradition of sexual silencing, the teacher indicates that her teaching of sexuality focuses on bad touch and sexual danger, about and against violent masculinities, while promoting respectable and equitable gender relations. The disruption is an effect of the teacher’s recognition of the gendered patterns of boys and girls classroom practice operating amid the broader climate of brutal township poverty, overcrowding, sexual violence and cultural norms that constrain women’s and girls’ agency. Nonetheless, the ability of the teacher to say ‘sex’ and to address cultural norms that tie women and girls into bonds of inequalities suggest limits to transforming gender relations and inequalities through sexuality education in the Foundation Phase without recognition of broader context. As such, it provides warrant for supporting teachers in the Foundation Phase to build on disruptive potentials in Life Skills sexuality education which is gender-focused, interrogative of the personal, locally relevant and disruptive of cultural norms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Books or and Babies: pregnancy and young parents in schools: book review
    (Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, 2015) Feltham-King, Tracey
    Abstract not available