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Understanding social constructions of becoming an academic through women’s collective career narratives
journal contributionposted on 14.12.2020, 13:59 by Sarah Barnard, Anthea Rose, Andrew Dainty, Tarek Hassan
The transition of early career researchers into academic posts is understood to be a crucial career step and marks a point at which representation of women declines significantly. The research adopts a participatory qualitative research methodology through career narrative interviews and group discussions with women engineers recently appointed into academic posts. It was found that academic careers are ‘hoped for’, but not described as a straightforward option in terms of either securing tenure or future career development. The collective career paths outlined were rarely linear and featured key moments of crisis and self-doubt, culminating in ‘tentative’ career identity formation in the face of gendered career structures. There is evidence of a pre-emptive and continuing uncertainty about the feasibility of an academic career that begins years before embarking on a PhD. The distinctive contribution of the study is the consideration of gendered early processes of forming an academic identity and ongoing collective experiences of becoming an academic.
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