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Constructing masculine work identity through narrative

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Abstract

This study extends the literature on gender, language, and the professions by examining the language practices of two participants from the communities of practice (Eckert & McConnell-Ginet 1992; Lave & Wenger 1991) of physicians in emergency medicine departments in the French-speaking province of Quebec, where the percentage of women who are becoming medical doctors is the highest it has ever been – higher than in other Canadian provinces, higher than the national average, and still growing (Kondro 2007). I argue that the growing number of women in this male dominated profession strongly depends on their success in adapting themselves and their lifestyles to an institutional structure that accommodates men and the lifestyles of men. The following study analyzes transcript data from two interviews with a male and a female physician. The research questions being pursued in the analysis are the following: How do these physicians discursively construct and negotiate their professional identity(ies)? What roles do gender and status play in their negotiation of these identities? The findings show that participants’ use of positioning (Davies & Harré 1990; Eckert & McConnell-Ginet 2003) and narrative contribute to the construction of this community of practice as relatively masculine and may point to one of the reasons women continue to be underrepresented in this profession.

References

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