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

By Susan E. Chase

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

In this e-book, Susan E. Chase examines those contradictory studies of energy and subjection, drawing on interviews with specialist ladies of assorted ethnic and racial backgrounds who head faculties in rural, small-town, and concrete districts around the usa. Chase specializes in the stress, implicit within the language those ladies 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 luck, she exhibits how those ladies have built quite a number narrative techniques for articulating and dealing with their ambiguous empowerment.

Innovative in perception and interdisciplinary in technique, this examine contributes to our knowing of the way basic 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 you can what expert girls 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.

When successful professional women narrate their work stories, they bring together two kinds of talk that generally do not belong together in American culture: talk about professional achievement and talk about subjection to gender and racial inequalities. The difference between my focus on this discursive disjunction and others' focus on the disjunction between conventional metanarratives and women's lives is related to two contextual factors. The first is historical. When Heilbrun describes the dearth of narratives in which women assume power over their lives, she is speaking in broad terms about the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Page v In memory of Adelia Chase and Marie Olaussen Page vii CONTENTS Preface ix Part One Cultural and Discursive Contexts Chapter 1 American Culture, Professional Work, and Inequality 3 Chapter 2 Settled and Unsettled Discursive Realms 38 Part Two Narrative Strategies Chapter 3 Highlighting Competence and Excluding Subjection: Ana Martinez 65 Chapter 4 Letting Ambition Go and Reconsidering Discrimination: Denise Nelson 94 Chapter 5 Uncovering Layers of Vulnerability and Strength: Margaret Parker 120 Page viii Chapter 6 Using Professional Power to Overcome Subjection: Karen Rhodes 146 Part Three The Larger Story Chapter 7 Individual Solutions to the Collective Problem of Inequality 177 Appendix The Research Project 217 Notes 225 Index 265 Page ix PREFACE This book studies the work narratives of one group of successful professional women in the contemporary United States: women who lead the nation's public schools.

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