Macquarie University
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The teachers with their blah, blah, blah, and we’re all about our zua, zua, zua: the unfolding of school sexualities in adolescent students from a public school in Bogotá, Colombia

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posted on 2022-10-24, 01:34 authored by Dolly Constanza Ardila Romero

In this thesis, I address sexuality in the school context based on students’ experience. I approach the official discourse of Sex Ed while I contextualize this type of education in the country and in School E, where I conducted fieldwork. I use the ethnographic work to illustrate the meanings that teachers and students give sexuality in the school context, as well as how all of these interact in the day-to-day experiences of the school. 

The text is organized in 4 chapters. Chapter one uses Foucault’s concept of biopower as it has been elaborated by social science theorists to analyze the normativity constructed by a sexual education program (SEP) in one Colombian school, School E, situating this within the broader context of the discourse on sexuality that is part of the school-based education in Colombia: Sex Ed. Chapter two describes the meanings that exist among teachers regarding student sexuality, a sexuality based on an assumption of the rationality of the natural development process as established by biology. In this understanding, medicine is in charge of the care of sexuality, while the school is in charge of its education. In chapter three, I recount the meanings of sexuality in teachers’ educational practice and the contradictions they encounter. Chapter four addresses the experience that students have in relation to those sexualities, their sexualities, which are openly gratifying and silently uncomfortable. I give an account of these experiences, which move between this personal characteristic and the group aspect, to examine how sexual experience in school is bound up in camaraderie.

Finally, I highlight that educational research––beyond the cognitive and performance aspects pertaining to the school––cannot omit experience. In other words, it also is what shapes the possibilities of interactions in the school context that are part of life itself where, in any case, sexuality exists. 


Table of Contents

Introduction -- 1. Sexual education (Sex Ed) in Colombia and the Sexual Education Project (SEP) in School E -- 2. Adolescent students and a developing sexuality -- 3. Knowing to avoid doing, my dear, because that’s best for when they’re older -- 4. ¡Estamos melos! you gotta do it in order to know -- 5. Conclusions -- Bibliography


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Cotutelle Doctor of Philosophy in Human and Social Sciences and Anthropology, Faculty of Human Sciences, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University. Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


Thesis (PhD), Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, School of Social Sciences, Discipline of Anthropology, 2021

Department, Centre or School

School of Social Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Lisa Wynn


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:






296 pages

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