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Knowledge / ignorance and the construction of sexuality in social work education

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2008
JournalSocial Work Education
Journal number2
Volume27
Number of pages14
Pages138-151
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explores how systems of knowledge about sexuality in social work operate alongside systems of ignorance—ways of not knowing sexuality or not knowing parts of it—which work to exclude particular ideas, behaviours and groups of people. It uses discourse analysis of literature aimed at social work students in order to examine how these systems manifest themselves in social work education. The paper analyses the following aspects of dominant discourses about sexuality and lesbians and gay men in this literature:

1. demands for greater visibility of lesbians and gay men;
2. the positioning of internalised homophobia as the defining feature of lesbians' and gay men's oppression; and
3. the ways in which not knowing lesbian or gay experience is constructed as an objective position.
The paper ends by suggesting ways in which sexuality might be understood differently in social work education contexts.