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Title: Public and private spaces in adolescent girls' lives : school graffiti, sexualities and romantic relationships
Author: Cassar, Joanne
ISNI:       0000 0001 3524 7423
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2008
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The thesis investigates a number of girls' writings as they occurred in the form of graffiti in a sixth-form College in Malta. It develops an analysis of these graffiti texts, which are mainly concerned with how their authors try to make sense of their gender identity and involvement in sexual activity and romantic encounters. The analysis examines possible reasons why a number of female students resort to writing graffiti. It highlights the ways through which the acquisition of sexual knowledge occurs informally outside the formal curriculum, through spaces created and struggled over by the informants. The study interrogates the emotional, social, cultural, personal and political worlds as described by them. This includes a discourse analysis, aimed at providing a deeper understanding of ignored emotional and social perspectives. In the absence of sexuality and relationships education in postsecondary education curricula in Malta, this study challenges silences surrounding these matters. The study documents the graffiti as subversive processes of learning, which reproduce and resist dominant discourses. It regards the graffiti as constituting a discourse in itself, understood as possibly promoting agency in some of the informants' lives. A reflexive approach was adopted to arrive at the research aims. Poststructuralist feminist and queer theory perspectives locate the study's theoretical positionings. Ethnographic observations and informal conversations with nineteen female students were employed to assist the data analysis. The findings show that some informants question the ways they relate to their gender identity when confronted by hetero, lesbian and bisexual social relationships. Heteronormative dominance and familiarity are actively reproduced, contested, disturbed and resisted. The findings suggest that the informants seek a safe school environment, where they can discuss sexualities and relationships' matters in a context of empathy, caring, understanding and support. They request detailed information about decision-making processes related to conflicting emotions about romantic feelings, relationships and interpersonal communication skills with their partner/so The study points to the need for a deeper understanding of the emotional and overall wellbeing of teenagers with respect to romantic and sexual relationships. The study aims to contribute towards academic debates and knowledge about teenage perspectives on sexualities and romantic relationships and towards the planning, discussion and design of future postsecondary sexuality education curricula in Malta.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available