Contact person:
Rebecka Fingalsson
  • Doctoral School: Learning in multicultural societal contexts
Responsible at MaU:
Rebecka Fingalsson
Project members at MaU:
Time frame:
01 September 2019 - 31 December 2025

About the project

Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce compulsory sex education, however, different actors, in different contexts, and places in the world had raised issues of school-based sex education around a similar point in time. From the late nineteenth century and onwards has concerns regarding school-based sex education revolved around issues of both the direction of content and the direction of pedagogic strategies. Previous research show how concerns of sex education are connected to different ideas of what is considered to be a sexually sound society.

The dissertation project focuses on the link between society and sex education to understand the educational space that knowledge about sexuality and relationships occupy, and what it means to educate in the knowledge area. The dual-purpose in the study is partly to understand how society imagines that young people's sexuality and relationships should be mediated through education, and partly to explore how educators handle the assignment and what they experience as challenging and why.

The study is based in Sweden where sex education has been compulsory since 1955 and subject integrated since 1994. In Sweden, all pupils take part in the content in sex education regardless of custodians approval due to its compulsory. Sex education has also become a shared responsibility among teachers and staff since the implementation of subject integration. This means that the content of sex education is to be addressed and covered by different school subjects in school and thus can require collaboration between different personnel. School teachers and staff can also make use of lesson plans and teaching materials provided by actors within or outside of school, or collaborate with school informants from other organizations.

In the dissertation project, I seek to understand why sex education was introduced in schools and what challenges sex education intended to solve? And in doing so, I try to make sense of the educators' experiences and memories of working with sex education? I also seek to understand how educational space for sexuality and relationships is created in school and what is considered outside the scope of sex education? By employing qualitative modes of enquiry, I attempt to illuminate the experiences and memories that educators have of working with sex education through interviews. The research material also consists of observations of educators, reports and documents regarding sex education.