n Perspectives in Education - The Politics of Pleasure in Sexuality Education: Pleasure Bound, Louisa Allen, Mary Lou Rasmussen & Mary Quinlivan (Eds.) : book review

Volume 33, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2236


In introducing , Louisa Allen, Mary Lou Rasmussen and Kathleen Quinlivan (2014: 4) talk to the notion of "meeting at the crossroads" in order to make sense of their editorial endeavour. They present the book as a site where diverse critical views of pleasure's possibilities and challenges, in and outside school, encounter and converse. In offering a collection of chaptered contributions from diverse geographies, disciplines and concerns about pleasure's inclusion in comprehensive sexuality pedagogies, they work to "putting pleasure under pressure", by bringing together perspectives that both illuminate and question, in various ways, the politics for its inclusion. Instead of "ruminating about how far a discourse of pleasure and desire has progressed in sexuality education" (2014: 10), they invite us into the crossroads as a place made to "provoke a reconfiguration of thought" and allow for "new beginnings" (2014: 4). Indeed, as the editors hope for in their After-Word(s), the collection stimulates "an intra-activity that produces new possibilities for thinking about pleasure in sexuality education" (2014: 186), as opposed to an inter-active set of ideas kept apart from each other. Not only can "the chapter boundaries ... be seen as porous and unfolding into each other" (2014: 186), but the book also premises that pleasures' uses (and absences) in sexuality education are, from the outset, political and intra-actively shaped. This is an important framing, since it acknowledges not only the complexities intrinsic to understandings of pleasure, but also their "necessary exclusions".

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