ERG SES E 05, Education Challenges
Nowadays in Social Sciences – in Portugal, in Europe and around worldwide – there are larger amount; visibility and legitimacy around LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) studies. On educational field occurs highlight those that focus on the issue of homophobia and heteronormativity in school – empirical studies or theoretical perspectives – oriented, usually, for problematics around political dimensions interseccionalized such as gender, citizenship and rights, inclusion and exclusion, identity and difference, justice and inequality, among others. The homophobic bullying at school, for example, has become a phenomenon whose concern in the development of policies towards its prevention and/or elimination has been manifested and operated by several European associations (cf. Takács, 2006; UNESCO, 2012). The LGBT rights are being increasingly recognized as a common form of citizenship (Carneiro & Menezes, 2007).
Despite this background of increased visibility, there is little time and space in the academia dedicated to reflections and discussions on epistemic, methodological and ethical options taken in such studies which is regrettable, especially if that studies were based on qualitative methodologies. If those studies are focused on results and subsequent proposals for action, it is clear that such questionings have been seen as inopportune noise. This suspicion is greater if we consider a reflection on the positioning of the researchers and their interests (desires), doubts (questions) and intrigues (tensions). Although it is been known that there is no neutrality in contemporary science (Haraway, 1989), the LGBT studies tend to suffer from the fact that they has been considered as more "ideological" (Browne & Nash, 2010). As Filax explains,
“Research about queer youth is relatively plentiful, yet it is ignored in mainstream youth studies because sexual minority youth are not countenanced and because those who research this area are often queer themselves and, consequently, are dismissed as biased.” (Filax, 2006: 68).
The interseccionality between science and sex continues to be seen as "merely cultural" (Butler, 1997), not deserving neither credibility nor priority treatment. Given the ghosts that gravitate around the intersections between youth, sex and education – such as child sexual abuse and/or sexual harassment of young people (Renold, 2002; Allen, 2011) – , there are some difficulties in the approach of certain thematics of greater susceptibility as bullying or sexuality (and, in particular homosexuality even in a context of homoparental possibilities). But it is this difficulty which justifies the interest in focusing on epistemological, methodological and ethical reflections of qualitative research for a healthy development of the research, of the intervention and professionalism in education, especially if there is a concern with the inclusion of groups in structural situation of greater vulnerability: if there is an interest in promoting inclusive practices in education the research itself must happen under perpetual critical vigilance (Silva, 2004).
This paper seeks to bring to the discussion some epistemic, methodological and ethical considerations which were on the basis of a survey of young students about homophobic bullying and may be useful for the design and implementation of other ongoing research in order to generate a wider debate. This research is titled as "queer" not only to focus on LGBT issues but for possessing this deconstruction of its own premises. "Queer research" here must be read as “any form of research positioned within conceptual frameworks that highlight the instability of taken-for-granted meanings and resulting power relations.” (Browne & Nash, 2010: 4). Initially, we seek to explain the research (its problems, its object, its objectives, the methodological approach and results). In a second phase, it is intended to elucidate some reflections that emerged in the course – initial, during and after – the research.
Allen, Louisa (2011). Young People and Sexuality Education. Rethinking Key Debates. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Bloor, Michael; Franland, Jane; Thomas, Michelle & Robson, Kate (2001) Focus Groups in Social Research. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi: Sage Publications. Browne, Kath & Nash, Catherine (2010) Queer Methods and Methodologies. Intersecting Queer Theories and Social Science Research. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Butler, Judith (1997). “Merely Cultural.”, In Social Text, nº 52/53, Queer Transexions of Race, Nation, and Gender, pp. 265-277. 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), 65-82. Coffey, Amanda (2002). “Sex in the field: Intimacy and intimidation”. In Trevor Welland and Lesley Pugsley (Eds.), Ethical dilemmas in qualitative research, (pp. 57-74), Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. Cohen, Louis, Manion, Lawrence & Morrison, Keith (2007). Research Methods in Education. New York: Routledge. Filax, Gloria (2006). Queer Youth in the Province of the “Severely Normal”. Vancouver: UCB Press. Foucault, Michel (2005). Order of Things. London: Routledge. Frith, Hannah (2000). “Focusing on Sex: Using Focus Groups in Sex Research”, In Sexualities, Vol 3(3): 275–297. Haraway, Donna (1988). “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective”, in Feminist Studies, 14:3, pp. 575 – 599. King, James (2000). “The Problem(s)of Men in Early Education”, In Nancy Lesko (Ed.), Masculinities at School (pp. 03-26). California: Sage Publications. McCormack, Mark (2012) The Declining Significance of Homophobia. How Teenage Boys are Redefining Masculinity and Heterosexuality. New York: Oxford University Press. Renold, Emma (2002). “Privacies and private: making ethical dilemmas public when researching sexuality in primary school”, In Trevor Welland & Lesley Pugsley (Eds.), Ethical Dilemmas in Qualitative Research (pp. 121-134), Aldershot, UK: Ashgate. Silva, Sofia Marques da (2011). “Getting closer to the stranger: Methodological and conceptual challenges in educational contexts.”, In Tobias Werlr (Ed.), Heterogeneity: General didactics meets the stranger / Transformation of Education: European perspectives (pp. 55-64, Vol. I). Münster: Waxmann. Silva, Sofia Marques da (2004). “Doubts and Intrigues in Ethnographic Research.”, In European Educational Research Journal, vol. 3, nº. 3, pp. 566 -582. Takács, Judit (2006). Social exclusion of young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Europe. Brussels & Amsterdam. ILGA-Europe & IGLYO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (2012). Review of Homophobic Bullying in Educational Institutions. Paris: UNESCO.
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