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New sexualities - new vulnerabilities?

Full title: New sexualities - new vulnerabilities? A gendered and classed perspective on sexual agency and vulnerability in young people’s sexual and intimate relationships.

New sexual cultures among young people is a contested space of public discourse, and connects to understandings of increased sexual agency on the one hand and to violence and vulnerability on the other. Are the young more active, independent and sexually powerful? Do we see the contours of some deep patterns underneath these new sexualities, creating vulnerabilities only in new ways?

About the project

In this study, sexual negotiations in youth culture is understood as related to cultural ideas about femininity, masculinity, and heterosexuality. Moreover, understandings of femininity, masculinity and sexuality are seen as connected to social background or class as they are materially and culturally situated constructions. From this follows that how we understand and manage our social self in relation to sexuality and intimacy may vary, and create different perceived senses of agency and vulnerability in sexual situations for young people, in different social contexts or milieus. This project aims to develop deeper knowledge on how gender, sexual agency and intimacy are entwined, and linked to social class. This is crucial for a more comprehensive understanding of young people’s sexual relations, and how cultural and social conditions are fundamental to how we create meaning to sexual situations and sexual selves. Knowledge on how experiences of sexual agency and vulnerability is connected to gendered and classed subjectivities may provide insightful knowledge on the formation of gender- and class based subjectivities in society in general. Moreover, this knowledge may further the understanding of how vulnerability to and protection from sexual violence is produced. On this background, the aim of the proposed PhD project is to explore how sexual situations and sexual selves are negotiated by young people in different social contexts. A key question is how these negotiations produce or nurture vulnerability and/or agency in sexual situations.


The PhD project will collaborate with the Research Program on Interpersonal Violence at the Norwegian Social Research (NOVA).


Ph.d.-candidate, University of Oslo 2018-2021.

Tags: Gender, Sexuality, Class, Intimacy, Vulnerability, Youth
Published Jan. 15, 2018 12:36 PM - Last modified Sep. 25, 2020 9:23 AM