Saving rhetorical children: sexuality education discourses from conservative to post-modern

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61 Citations (Scopus)


Sexuality policy is currently changing at global, national and local levels. This move is affecting the sexuality education discourses in education policies around the world. However, the changes are not always translating into a direct re-thinking of approaches, and in some cases result in a push for more conservative policy. This paper provides a discourse exemplar for understanding the broad range of sexuality education discourses currently at work in education policies and policy movements internationally. It is intended for use in sexuality education policy research, conception and practice. The different constructions of ‘the child’ at the core of the various discourses are examined, including the ways in which the different discourses attempt to ‘save’ these children from perceived sexuality problems through education. The article posits that such rhetorical children should not ‘stand in’ for the needs of actual children in sexuality policy, without being explicitly acknowledged as constructs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-387
Number of pages19
JournalSex Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


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