What does Empowerment mean in School-Based Sex and Relationships Education

Spencer, Grace, Maxwell, Claire and Aggleton, Peter (2008) What does Empowerment mean in School-Based Sex and Relationships Education. Sex Education:Sexuality, Society and Learning, 8 (3). pp. 345-356. ISSN 1468-1811

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Policy and practice on sex and relationships education (SRE) in England often has the stated objectives of delaying sexual activity, reducing sexually transmitted infections and lowering rates of teenage conception. Underlying these objectives is the desire to support young people in making 'informed choices' and developing the skills that will enable them negotiate positive relationships. The concept of informed choice is often linked to the concept of 'empowerment', which implies a less determined set of outcomes. Not only does current SRE policy in England present a seemingly incompatible amalgamation of two different approaches - a statutorily imposed, adult-led, focus on behavioural outcomes, and an empowerment framework with the unpredictability of outcome that this presupposes - but it also fails to take into account thorny problems surrounding the notion of empowerment. Drawing on Lukes' account of power, this paper provides a critical exploration of the conceptualisation of empowerment and subsequent practical impediments to the development and implementation of 'empowerment' within school-based SRE.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Education
Depositing User: Peter Aggleton
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 20:11
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2012 23:47
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/24617
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