Sensitive hesitations: – youth workers’ reflections on gender and sexuality in youth work

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskningpeer review


Research topic/aim
The paper draws on a study exploring youth workers’ reflections on pedagogical approaches and strategies in leisure facilities that aim to include all young people as legitimate equal participants, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, as well as sexual orientation. The context of the study is current discussions about gender, diversity, and discrimination in Danish politics and media, and documentation of mental health issues among LGBTQ+ youth in school and leisure-time (LGBT+ Danmark 2021).

Theoretical framework
The study is informed by international gender and intersectionality research (Butler 1993, Nayak & Kehily 2006) as well as Danish research about how gender and other socio-cultural categories are regulated and negotiated in every day institutional life (Kofoed 2008, Staunæs 2003). We are inspired by Kevin Kumashiro’s work on queer perspectives on education, and his concept of teaching on uncertainty (Kumashiro 2004). To embrace uncertainty allows to learn something truly new and holds the potential to trouble the status quo and transform oppressive relations in education. In our analysis, we have translated the concept of uncertainty into sensitive hesitations to grasp when youth workers are hesitating and searching for the right words especially when talking about gender and sexuality.

Methodological design
Empirically, our material consists of interviews with 20 youth workers in Denmark. The interviews were conducted as part of the research project “The Gendered Youth Club” based at University College Copenhagen (2021-2022). The interviews illuminate youth workers’ narratives of forms of inclusion and exclusion that are produced in urban youth work in relation to gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and class.

Expected conclusions/findings
We find that hesitance - as a pedagogical concept - can be read as a willingness to engage in sensitive reflections on gender and sexuality in youth work, and as a professional awareness under development.

Relevance to Nordic educational research
Our findings add to discussions in the field of gender and education on how to conceptualise and practice gender sensitive and norm critical perspectives.
Publikationsdato7 mar. 2024
StatusUdgivet - 7 mar. 2024
BegivenhedNERA 2024: Adventures of Education: Desires, Encounters and Differences - Malmö Universitet, Malmö, Sverige
Varighed: 6 mar. 20248 mar. 2024


KonferenceNERA 2024
LokationMalmö Universitet