Cassandra Robertson


Cassandra Robertson is a second year PhD candidate. Her thesis working title is Young women and empowerment: A focussed ethnography of an intervention nexus. It aims to focus on the power relations within the discursive field and social practices of a sexual and reproductive health (SRH) intervention. Exploring these power relations will aid in understanding how empowerment operates within a SRH intervention and how empowerment is perceived by those taking part and deploying the intervention. By doing this, this research can help inform how critical qualitative research can benefit SRH interventions and by extension those that take part in the intervention. This research has the potential to create a proposed SRH empowerment framework that can be used to help structure and deploy empowerment for SRH interventions in South Africa. This research is supervised by Dr Tracey Feltham-King and Distinguished Professor Catriona Macleod.

Her full Masters dissertation, for which she was awarded a distinction, explored the colloquial terms that young people use when talking about their sexuality. Data consisted of posts off a student-led social media site and the study design employed was a validity check group interview. The post-structuralist approach drew on key insights from Michael Foucault, Adrienne Rich, Gayle Rubin, Judith Butler and Rosalind Gill. Three overarching themes emerged: young adults spoke to sexual practices, sexual subjectivities and sexual desires. A major focus of this talk is casual sex. This talk showed that there are attempts to undermine gendered and heteronormative power relations, for example, non-normative sexual experiences were not seen as deviant, although those who were engaging in monogamy and casual sex were constructed as deviant sexual subjects. Yet underpinning of these power relations still took place, for example, in the female missing discourse of desire, the internalisation of male sexual desires over female sexual desires and the sexual double standard. This research was supervised by Dr Jacqui Marx and Distinguished Professor Catriona Macleod and conferred at the Rhodes University graduation of 2019.

Her Bachelor of Social Science degree was completed in 2014 and her Bachelor of Social Science Honours in Psychology (cum laude) was completed in 2015 at the University of Fort Hare respectively. In her spare time Cassandra runs a small business, Planet Pocket, which is an online eco-friendly store that encourages the public to use alternative products to plastic while educating followers on the benefits of living more sustainably.

Masters Dissertation

Robertson, C.A. Marx, J. Macleod, C. (2019) Colloquial terms used in young adults talk about sexual practices, sexual subjectivities and sexual desires. (Unpublished Masters Dissertation). Rhodes University, Makhanda

Conference Presentations

Robertson, C.A. Marx, J. Macleod, C. (2017 September). Colloquial terms used in young adults talk about sexual practices, sexual subjectivities and sexual desires. Pan African Psychology Union Conference

Robertson, C.A. Marx, J. Macleod, C. (2019 September). Bae’s, mains, sides and f**kboys: Effects of young adult’s colloquial terms on monogamy and casual sex. Paper presented at the 25th Annual South African Psychology Congress, Johannesburg.






Last Modified: Wed, 23 Aug 2023 09:55:36 SAST