This article examines the tactical (counter) politics of inclusive and ‘norm-critical’ approaches in Swedish sex education, focusing on the enactment of this critical agenda in sex education practices and how teachers interpret and negotiate the possibilities and pitfalls of this kind of work.
The analysis draws on participant observation in sex education practices and in-service teacher training, as well as interviews with educators.
Three recurrent strategies lie at the centre of the analysis: the sensitive use of language to achieve inclusion; the organisation and incorporation of ‘sensitive’ content to resist stigmatisation; and the use of different modalities to produce a specific knowledge order.
The analysis shows how these strategies are grounded in norm-critical ideals, which become partly inflicted with tensions and discomforts when acted out in practice. The analysis further shows how an inclusive and norm-critical agenda runs the risk of becoming static, in the sense of providing students with the results of critique rather than engaging them in it.