'Keeping things straight' : the construction of sexualities and sexual identities in life orientation textbooks.

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dc.contributor.author Wilmot, Mark
dc.date.accessioned 2013-01-11T06:06:08Z
dc.date.available 2013-01-11T06:06:08Z
dc.date.issued 2013-01-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/12266
dc.description.abstract The compulsory subject Life Orientation in the school curriculum serves a central role in the socialization of learners into the constitutional imperative of non-discriminatory and democratic values as evidenced by the specific subject aims contained in the CAPS statement. Given the dearth of knowledge in the area of sexuality and the formation of sexual identity through curriculum materials, and framed by the sociological view that sexuality and sexual identity is a social construction, the aim of this study was to investigate the representation/construction of sexualities and sexual identities in a sample of Grade 10 Life Orientation textbooks. The study is informed by critical discourse theory in conjunction with queer theory and examines the vocabulary, grammar and textual structures of language, to expose how representations of sexuality implicitly and explicitly function to a construct and transmit dominant form of sexual identity. A selection of the content of three Life Orientation textbooks was analysed in terms of coverage given to LGBT sexualities and heterosexualities, using a quantitative research approach. The context and quality of those representations was also interrogated using qualitative methods including thematic content analysis and a queer critical discourse analysis to examine the discursive construction of those representations. A standard hegemonic notion of heterosexuality appears to be the all-pervasive and unexamined norm in the Life Orientation textbooks whereas LGBT identities, as revealed by a content and thematic analysis, are virtually invisible. Generally it would appear that Life Orientation textbooks transmit a dominant notion of heterosexuality as the norm, arising out of a common-sense understanding of sexuality which naturalizes a form of heterosexuality that privileges male desire and subordinates women. These underlying ideological meanings are revealed through an examination of the experiential, relational and expressive value of the language such as the lexicalization (connotations and denotations), overlexicalization, classificatory schemes, euphemism and register. Grammatical features for instance active and passive voice, nominalization, modality and the use of logical connectors also serve to bolster a heterosexual sexuality in the Life Orientation textbooks. Frequently, the stated intention of the writers to challenge stereotypes and prejudice would appear to be contradicted or betrayed by the language used and illustrations which further reinforce heterosexuality as a universal norm. Where LGBT identities are mentioned it is usually in the context of human rights, abuse, violation, pathology and emotional disorder. en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Life skills--Study and teaching (Secondary)--South Africa.
dc.subject.lcsh Gender identity in education--South Africa.
dc.title 'Keeping things straight' : the construction of sexualities and sexual identities in life orientation textbooks. en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA


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