721.5 Professional identity and gender

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 1:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Henning SALLING OLESEN , University of Roskilde, Denmark
Professional identity and gender 

Autobiographical and life history research provides a holistic framework of understanding the relation between societal institutions and individual lives. But how can we avoid to ‘individualize the individual’, i.e. abstract the individual from his or her life context? This paper will offer a life history approach focussing on societal experience and ambivalences of individual life experiences with a special view to the gender dimensions of professional work and professional identity. Examples are drawn from empirical studies of general practitioners, nurses, engineers and teachers. It is argued that a detailed interpretation of life stories enables an understanding of the ambivalneces and dynamics in the identity processes, and an interpretation of an autobiographic case from research into engineers’ career and life experience is being presented to illuminate this point.