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Title: Let's talk about sex : social constructions of adolescent sexual practices and their potential for change
Author: Stevens, Diane
ISNI:       0000 0001 3481 801X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2004
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In the light of the AIDS pandemic and political concerns regarding the number of unplanned pregnancies amongst adolescents, psychological research in the area of adolescent sexuality has increased exponentially in recent years. However, traditional psychological research aimed at explaining patterns of adolescent sexual behaviour, contraceptive use, and behavioural change have tended to be framed within an individual rational decision-making perspective, which this thesis argues is inappropriate for understanding such phenomena. This aim of this thesis is to give a critical reading of the traditional psychological literature on adolescent sexual practices, and to explore the potential application of a social constructionist framework. Four studies are reported which examine the discursive production of adolescent sexuality in the accounts of participants with a 'stakehold' in such practices - politicians, educators, parents, and sexually active adolescents themselves. A range of methodologies was adopted, including in-depth interviews, semi-structured questionnaires and archive searches. Several forms of analysis undertaken, including discourse analytical techniques drawing heavily on the work of Parker (1992), Hollway (1986; 1986) and Smith (1990). The analysis centres around the divergent constructions of sexuality and related phenomena produced in the various accounts which may undermine the potential effectiveness of interventions designed to change sexual practices. In particular, it was argued that policy-makers and educators may actively reproduce the discourses of sexuality which support the very practices they see as inappropriate, and aim to change. The thesis draws to a close with a discussion of the implications of this research in terms of social constructionist psychology, methodology and the possible practical applications of work of this nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available