ERG SES D 08, Citizenship and Education
The studies on heteronormativity and homophobia in education, especially in school education, have known a long past since the end of the 90’s. The school has emerged as unsafe place with a hostile environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth. Due to social and/or school homophobia, some say that this young segment is three times more likely to commit suicide than their heterosexual counterparts (Cover, 2012). However, with regard to portuguese context, there is a lack of educational studies about different sexual orientations and/or identities. Psychology tends to remain hostage to an intrapsychic conception, ignoring a broader understanding of sexual oppression that allows to mobilize powerful theoretical and socio-anthropological concepts such as “identity”, “difference” or “diversity” (Miceli, 2000), except for some research that addresses the political participation of LGBT citizens in their communities (Carneiro & Menezes, 2007).
The Education Sciences have marginalized bodies and sexualities and the tension between school and the homosexualities (Epstein & Johnson, 1998). There is a clear explanation where masculinity and homophobia appear intertwined (Kimmel & Mahler, 2003; Pascoe, 2007). However, in a global context of discursive and mediatic proliferation about the homosexualities, including the european context (gay marriage, gay adoption), it is not possible to have only one negative perspective about the social reaction to the other’s homosexual expressions, specifically in school. Homosexuality does not belong anymore to the field of the clandestine and to the absolutely invisible domain. If the school is a representative microcosm of the wider society where multiple discourses coexist – from dehumanizing rejection to openness and inclusion, from benevolent tolerance to a critical radicalism – then it is possible that these discourses can converge alongside with multiple masculinities, femininities, homo and heterosexualities in schools. For instance, Mark McCormack (2012) detects some changes in juvenile ways of leading with homosexuality from social others, linked to more relaxed ways of living and express masculinity. Within that theoretical line, some queer perspectives have strongly criticized a negative understanding of LGBT youth in school (Cover, 2012).
In a previous work, I listened to gay young students and their experiences (Santos, 2013). I argued, inspired by Pierre Bourdieu’s work (2002), that heterosexuality could be considered a sexual capital as well as the “hegemonic masculinity” (Connell, 2005), symbolically connected to it. Now I would like to go inside the school trying to understand if this is so and how. The objective is therefore to understand which forms heteronormativity and homophobia can assume at school and what are the modes in which sexual domination is produced and reproduced, from the point of view of both: young students (boys and girls) and the institution (teachers, professionals, official curriculum and pedagogies). Our own point of view is still ambiguous, due to an ethnographic positioning with an anti-positivist inspiration – however, non-neutral and politically engaged – and our theoretical framework is based on poststructuralist feminism and queer theory. On one hand, we intend to focus critically on the homophobic discrimination that prevents school in constituting itself as a democratic, safe and inclusive place beyond the liberal classic rhetoric and, on the other hand, we intend to highlight the the points of openness and social change that allow a effectively revolutionary politics in sex education and a formulation of a queer pedagogy that assumes “the production of normalization as a problem of culture and of thought.” (Britzman, 1998: 214).
ALLEN, Louisa (2011). Young People and Sexuality Education. Rethinking Key Debates. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ANNING, Angela (2011). “Researching Vulnerable People: The importance of sensitivity.”, In Anne Campbell & Pat Broadhead (Eds.), Working with Children and Young People. Ethical Debates and Practices across Disciplines and Continents. Oxford: Peter Lang, pp. 59-77. BLOOR, Michael; FRANLAND, Jane; THOMAS, Michelle & ROBSON, Kate (2001). Focus Groups in Social Research. London: Sage Publications. BOURDIEU, Pierre (2002). Masculine Domination. Standford: Standford University Press. BRITZMAN, Deborah P. (1998). “Is there a queer pedagogy? Or, stop reading straight.”, In William Pinar (Ed.), Curriculum: Toward new identities. New York: Garland Publications, pp. 211-227. CARNEIRO, Nuno S. & MENEZES, Isabel (2007). “From an oppressed citizenship to affirmative identities: Lesbian and gay political participation in Portugal.”, In Journal of Homosexuality, 53(3), pp. 65-82. CONNELL, R. W. (2005). Masculinities. California: University of California Press. COVER, Rob (2012). Queer Youth Suicide, Culture and Identity: Unliveable Lives?. Burlington, VT: Ashgate. CRESWELL, John W. (2007). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design. Choosing Among Five Approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. EPSTEIN, Debbie & JOHNSON, Richard (1998). Schooling Sexualities. Buckingham: Open University Press. KIMMEL, Michel S. & MAHLER, Matthew (2003). “Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence.”, In American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 46, nº. 10, pp. 1439-1458. MCCOMARK, Mark (2012a). The Declining Significance of Homophobia. How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality. New York: Oxford University Press. MICELI, Melinda S. (2002). “Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth.”, In Diane Richardson e Steve Seidman (Eds.), Handbook of Lesbian & Gay Studies. London: Sage Publications, pp. 199-214. PASCOE, Cheri Jo (2007). Dude, you’re a fag: masculinity and sexuality in high school. California: University of California Press. SANTOS, Hugo (2013). Um Desvio na Corrente que(er)stionando as Margens. Percursos escolares e culturas juvenis de rapazes não-heterossexuais. Tese de Mestrado: FPCEUP.
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