Beyond the Risk Discourse: Photovoice as Critical-Pedagogical Tool of Sexuality Education for Adolescents

Menny Malka, Sivan Lotan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Given that sex education programs are considered an educational-pedagogical tool for facilitating the sexual socialization of adolescents, contemporary debate in this field tends to distinguish between emphasis on conservative pedagogy and on critical pedagogy. Methods: Based on a single case study design, the photovoice-based work model was implemented as a critical-pedagogical tool, part of community-based participatory research (2017–2109) on sex and sexuality in the daily lives of adolescents. The study involved 15 teens who took part in an intervention program designed to promote healthy sexuality in the framework of a nongovernmental community organization based in the city of Be’er Sheva, in southern Israel. Results: Content analysis was used to identify the learning processes facilitated using photovoice. Four main themes emerged: (1) beyond the risk discourse; (2) the right to self-subjective recognition; (3) challenging gender constructions; (4) human rights and healthy communication. Conclusions: The contribution of photovoice as a critical pedagogical tool for sexuality education is expressed in that it enables adolescents to take an active stance when it comes to creating knowledge and expressing perspectives on sexuality in daily life, to challenge the obvious; formulate and express perceptions that align with a discourse of human rights, equality, and subjectivity, as well as the ability to re-examine rigid sexual perceptions. Policy Implications: Study results suggest drawing from critical pedagogy in the design of healthy sexuality programs to expand their scope beyond a narrow focus on risk and prevention and to broader aspects of healthy intimate relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-119
Number of pages17
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Issue number1
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2022


  • Adolescents
  • Community base participatory research
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Photovoice
  • Sexuality education programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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