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Cult Health Sex. 2012;14 Suppl 1:S15-26. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2012.723751. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Let's talk about sex: reflections on conversations about love and sexuality in Kumasi and Endwa, Ghana.

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Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany.


This paper recounts and reflects on conversations about love and sexuality conducted with young people in Kumasi and Endwa, Ghana. It examines the settings of these conversations - in a kinship-based household, secondary schools and Pentecostal churches - and explores young people's reticence to talk about such matters in the light of intergenerational respect. Analysing young people's strategies of silence and provocative speech, the paper shows that, paradoxically, schools and churches provide institutionalised spaces for young people's subversive outspokenness that contrasts with the ethical codex of decency as the expression of hierarchical relations.

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