Sex Education, 18 (1), p.107-121
As part of Western European development aid policy, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is increasingly promoted in resource-poor countries. This paper engages with CSE promotion in Bangladesh funded by the Dutch Government. It unpacks the ‘collaboration’ by looking at how a paradox is played out between the universal ideals underlying a broader transnational rights-approach and the intended cultural sensitivity by adapting CSE to the targeted context. Feminist scholarship on the ideological, moral and affective underpinnings of CSE is used to question this model’s implied universality and neutrality. The various negotiations, concerns and strategies of NGO-representatives as co-producers of sexuality knowledge in Bangladesh are focused upon. Analysis focuses on how a ‘speakable’, middle-class-oriented ‘proper’ sexuality is invented and managed through affect; how cultural insensitivity and secular normativity with respect to CSE are challenged in discussions concerned a rights-versus-health approach; and how a confident and knowledgeable adolescent or young person is imagined through the emancipatory project attributed to sexuality education. Rather than via equal collaboration, it is argued, adolescent sexuality education in these development aid settings is shaped by powerful transnational and local processes of Othering.
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