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Abstract

Sex and relationships education (SRE) curricula and provision are being discussed, debated and problematised with an increasing sense of urgency in many countries around the world. Existing research has investigated ongoing areas of consideration, including youth perspectives on SRE, the organisation and delivery of SRE and the shifting emphasis from sexual health to sexual rights within SRE curricula. These are valuable and important advances which have contributed to a discursive shift away from understanding SRE or comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) solely as a public health issue. Increasingly, there are calls to focus more explicitly on gender, sexuality, plurality and power within SRE. A number of sociocultural, political and legal shi_s have taken place in a range of contexts which have, arguably, created a conducive environment for discussing issues of gender and sexual equality and plurality within education. Specifically, these include:

  • ▸ an increased political recognition of gender and sexual violence among teenagers, encompassing debates about understandings of consent (Coy et al., 2010; Beckett et al., 2013; Sundaram, 2014);

  • ▸ expanded knowledge about homophobia in schools juxtaposed with the recent legal shifts, such as the sanctioning of same-sex marriage in a number of countries (Martino and Pallotta-Chiarolli, 2005; Rasmussen, 2006; Guasp, 2012; Marriage (Same Sex-Couples) Act, 2013);

  • ▸ a renewed debate about ‘plurality’ in SRE in the context of increasingly multicultural communities (Tasker, 2004; Todd, 2011; Allen et al., 2014);

  • ▸ political and social concerns about children and young people’s access to pornography and sexualised imagery (Papadopoulos, 2010; Brook, 2013; Ollis, Harrison and Maharaj, 2013);

  • ▸ public and political concerns about the sexualisation of young girls and women in a range of print and online media (Rush and La Nauze, 2006; Bailey, 2011; Renold and Ringrose, 2011);

  • ▸ proposed changes to the professional remit of teachers in relation to child protection and safeguarding (Department for Education (South Africa), 2002; Department for Education (UK), 2014).

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© 2016 Vanita Sundaram and Helen Sauntson

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Sundaram, V., Sauntson, H. (2016). Introduction: Global Perspectives and Key Debates in Sex and Relationships Education: Setting the Scene. In: Sundaram, V., Sauntson, H. (eds) Global Perspectives and Key Debates in Sex and Relationships Education: Addressing Issues of Gender, Sexuality, Plurality and Power. Palgrave Pivot, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137500229_1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137500229_1

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Pivot, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-69878-3

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-50022-9

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