Publication details

Sexuality and gender in school-based sex education in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland in the 1970s and 1980s

Authors

LIŠKOVÁ Kateřina JARSKA Natalia SZEGEDI Gábor

Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source History of the Family
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Social Studies

Citation
Web https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1081602X.2019.1679219?journalCode=rhof20
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1081602X.2019.1679219
Keywords Sex education; gender; sexuality; expertise; Czechoslovakia; Poland; Hungary; state socialism
Description Was there a state-socialist model of school sex education and if so, what characterized its form and content? What shaped the specificities and divergent characteristics of each country? The paper explores and compares programs of ‘education for family life’ as these became part of state-driven reproductive politics in late stages of state socialism in three countries (Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary), with a particular focus on sexuality and gender. We analyze how sexuality was framed in these otherwise broadly understood programs, which aimed not just at discussing sex but also interpersonal relations within the family, forming the ways in which gender was to be understood, and sexuality was to be practiced. We show that school curricula for education for family life, which included sexual education, were introduced in the early 1970s in all three countries, and these programs displayed many similarities. We identify transnational influences in triggering the interest in such type of education and cross-border exchanges that shaped it further. Nevertheless, when analyzing the content of these curricula, national factors and peculiarities become visible, like the heightened focus on ‘normal’ family life in Czechoslovakia, the importance of ethnicity (Roma minority) in Hungary or religion (Catholicism) in Poland. As a result, we cannot speak of a universal model of state-socialist sex education. Methodologically, we follow the sociology of expertise that focuses on the ways in which expertise forms, links or disjoins, creating new areas of social life in need of expert intervention (Eyal, Rose, Hacking). Changes in expertise thus map onto broader social changes and analyzing the shifts in expertise can help understand societal processes of social reproduction and change. In our paper, we focus on sexological and pedagogical expertise, as these intersected on the issue of school-based sex education.
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