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Working Paper 131: Feminisation/defeminisation: identity-work; dilemmas in primary school teaching and nursing

Joanna Latimer (Cardiff University) and Jenny Ozga (Edinburgh University)

Nevertheless if we proclaim that technology in general more often symbolizes masculinity than it symbolizes femininity, I think few lay people and few scholars would raise any objection.  (Melström 2002: 461)

The article revisits research in the sociology of health and education undertaken during the nineteen- nineties and the intensification of managerial change agendas.  We explore how gendered relations enable the accomplishment of new political economies in education and health. Since the early nineteen-nineties both spheres of work have been  subject to increasing managerial scrutiny and professionalising agendas. We explore the effects of these agendas on the redistribution and reprofessionalisation of work in primary schools, hospitals and clinics. We consider the significance of these redistributions for practitioners of nursing and primary teaching. Specifically, both nurses and teachers are pressed to scientise and technologise  their discourse and practice in response to managerial imperatives. Science and technology as cultural domains are both strongly associated with the masculine.  Yet the masculinisation of nursing and primary teaching has not necessarily led to the elevation of nurses' and primary teachers' status.  Drawing together two analytical frameworks (labour process and post-structuralism), the paper presents and examines this anomaly.

Working Paper 131: Feminisation/defeminisation: identity-work; dilemmas in primary school teaching and nursing, Cardiff School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University, pp 21, Series Working paper series, August(2010), ISBN 978-1-904815-94-5




Additional Information

Authors: Joanna Latimer (Cardiff) and Jenny Ozga (Edinburgh)