Adolescents, sexting and consent; a discursive approach

Rousaki, A., 2022. Adolescents, sexting and consent; a discursive approach. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Sexting is the interpersonal exchange of sexually suggestive, self-produced pictures/videos/texts. The present thesis employs a critical discursive psychology approach to explore the discursive constructions of the key stakeholders associated with adolescent sexting; adolescents, parents/carers and teachers.

The first study explores how adolescents construct sexting in relation to relationships, gender and consent/coercion. The study employs focus groups of 18 adolescents, aged 16-18. The findings indicate that sexting is constructed as a contested category. I initially introduce the interpretative repertoire (IR) of sexting as normal. However, adolescents also construct sexting as an ideological dilemma concerning power and popularity and open different positions regarding gender and sexuality. This study introduces the constructions regarding sexting consent/coercion, and the emerging ideological dilemmas in relation to justification of coercion.

The second study explores parental constructions of sexting regarding gender and consent, as well as parental monitoring. It employs 15 dyadic interviews with parents/carers of adolescents. I introduce the IR of adolescents as immature which entails constructions of sexuality and agency. This study showcases the antithetical positions that open in relation to gender. Moreover, it introduces the repertoire of sexting as victimisation and the dilemmic positions adolescents are interpellated to occupy regarding victimhood and gender. The discursive constructions of sexting consent constitute an ideological dilemma. Monitoring produces conflicting repertoires, such as liberal and strict parenting. Finally, parents/carers constructed adolescents’ engagement with sexting as an indicator of good/bad parenting.

The third study explores teachers’ constructions of sexting and consent in relation to gender, and how teachers frame sexting education and monitoring practices. For this study, I conducted 30 individual interviews with educators of adolescents. Sexting is constructed both as a threat and an ideological dilemma. Varying positions opened regarding gender. Teachers framed adolescents as naïve and parents and schools as co-responsible for adolescent sexting. Here, I present the conflicting repertoires that emerged regarding consent, and the repertoire of sexting as a sign of times. Finally, I discuss the construction of sexting education as insufficient.

The present thesis contributes to knowledge by offering critical insight on the differences in the discursive constructions among the three key stakeholder groups. It offers a holistic understanding of sexting by situating it in a socio-political and historical context. The thesis discusses potential theoretical and practical implications of the findings.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Rousaki, A.
Date: September 2022
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jeremy Silvester
Date Added: 11 Aug 2023 09:58
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 09:58

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