Ambiguous empowerment: the work narratives of women school by Susan E. Chase

By Susan E. Chase

Like different ladies who paintings in professions ruled via white males, girls tuition superintendents inform tales approximately emerging to influential positions, constructing self belief of their authority and talent, but carrying on with to confront discriminatory therapy in an profession based by way of gender and racial inequalities.

In this booklet, Susan E. Chase examines those contradictory stories of energy and subjection, drawing on interviews with specialist ladies of varied ethnic and racial backgrounds who head faculties in rural, small-town, and concrete districts around the usa. Chase specializes in the strain, implicit within the language those girls use, among ostensibly gender- and race-neutral discourse approximately expert paintings and contentious, gendered, and racialized discourse approximately inequality. via shut research in their tales of good fortune, she exhibits how those ladies have built a number narrative thoughts for articulating and dealing with their ambiguous empowerment.

Innovative in perception and interdisciplinary in strategy, this examine contributes to our realizing of ways normal social processes―the replica of tradition, the development of self-understandings―are embodied within the daily perform of storytelling. It additionally invitations us to pay attention in new how one can what expert ladies need to say approximately their lives.

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Extra resources for Ambiguous empowerment: the work narratives of women school superintendents

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When professional women narrate their experiences of power and subjection, they draw on meaning systemsdiscoursesthat American culture provides for talking about professional achievement on the one hand and inequality on the other. By shifting my focus to narrative practices, then, my study deepens our comprehension of how American culture constrains professional women's self-understandings and how they struggle against those constraints. This dynamic relationship between culture and experience comes to light only when we attend to the narrative process itself.

29 In so doing, I import Swidler's distinctions into the discursive arenas of contemporary American culture. "30 In the contemporary United States, we take for granted that the professions are integral to society's functioning, that professional Page 18 work is a sphere of achievement and competence based in specialized knowledge useful to society at large, that such work encourages professionals to develop identities based in their work, and that professionals enjoy stature in their communities because of their expertise and the perceived importance of the work they do.

28 My interest, however, in the differing forms of talk related to these two discursive realmsin self-conscious and unself-conscious talkis unusual. When I refer to the disjunction between these realms, I mean that they shape the content and forms of talk in distinct ways. One of my major arguments is that talk about professional work usually belongs to a settled, taken-for-granted discursive realm, while talk about inequality generally belongs to an unsettled, explicitly ideological discursive realm.

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