Using Foucauldian ‘discursive practices’ as conceptual framework for the study of teachers’ discourses of HIV and sexuality

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    Educational research conducted in the context of the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Southern Africa has produced diverse knowledge claims. A review of extant literature espoused elements of ambiguity and contradictions which have become challenging to explain, given the growing instrumentality of educational policy and institutional cultures. The research question addressed in this article is: What is the content and nature of the dominant literature strands informing teachers’ HIV and AIDS discourses? Educational policy’s preoccupation with efficacy and uniformity underplays the complexities in teachers’ discourses. This article proposes Foucault’s notion of ‘discursive practices’ as a conceptual lens to analyse the diversity of teachers’ HIV and sexuality discourses. Discursive practices encompass social, structural and subjective elements that constitute the wide scope of discourse formation. These elements create possibilities of uncertainty and indeterminacy in educational outcomes of HIV prevention, which often counteract intended policy’s expectations of uniformity and consistency. This article presents a perspective stating that a discursive practices approach offers an innovative way in broadening an understanding of the subjective nature of teachers’ HIV and sexuality, arguably a weakness in policy.