From Deviance to Diversity: Discourses and Problematisations in Fifty Years of Sexuality Education in Denmark

Line Anne Roien, Christian Graugaard, Venka Simovska*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article analyses the sexuality education curriculum in primary and lower secondary schools in Denmark. Taking inspiration from the ‘what is the problem represented to be?’ approach to policy analysis, we explore how discourses of risk, health, quality of life, sexual diversity and critical pedagogy simultaneously permeate curriculum policy and contribute to the production of particular subjectivities among pupils and teachers. Over time, changing national curricula have moved towards greater centralisation with increased attention paid to learning outcomes rather than to wider educational ideals. An analysis of the current curriculum reveals three sidelined discourses: discourses on pleasure and erogeneity; discourses on LGBTQ+ issues; and discourses on ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The Danish national curriculum on sexuality education produces two contrasting subject positions: on the one hand, the uninformed pupil in need of protection and, on the other hand, the empowered, responsible and agentic student. Postmodern and critical approaches to sexuality education risk eliminating room for certain subjectivities while opening up space for new forms of agentic norm critical subjectivity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSex Education: Sexuality, Society and Learning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)68-83
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • curriculum policy
  • denmark
  • discourses
  • schools
  • Sexuality education


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