Rethinking the Intersections of Class, Gender and Heterosexuality



This chapter reviews ongoing academic debates central to understanding young people’s classed, gendered and heterosexual values, identities and practices. It presents the development of a theoretical framework for generally understanding the book. Using theory and research to form an analysis about the factors affecting adolescent behaviour enables researchers and SRE curriculum developers to create successful sexual health programmes (UNESCO, 2009). The chapter focuses on changing gendered heterosexual and class relations which are key elements in theories which describe contemporary social changes and affect how teens form their values, identities and orientations to the world. Theories of increased ‘individualisation’, ‘detraditionalisation’ and ‘disembed-dedness’ (Giddens, 1991; Beck, 1992; Beck and Beck-Gernsheim, 2002) claim a transformation in the relations between men and women who are now ‘removed from the constraints of gender’ (Beck, 1992: 105) and the ‘death of class’ as evidence of processes of change and increased social mobility. The individualisation thesis of social life is, however, criticised by several theorists’ call for a renewed class and gender analysis to explain youth transitions and identity formations.


Class Identity Class Difference Life Chance Class Process Discursive Construction 
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Copyright information

© Sharon Elley 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LeedsUK

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