Processes of Social Exclusion within the Professions: "You're Not Really Supposed to be Here."
For some groups, a major concern was normalization and self-surveillance, navigating disclosures of stigmatizing social identities, and constant concern with proving themselves ‘good enough’ professionals. Members of some groups entered the social field of the professions lacking valued social and cultural capitals, as well as habitus, which left them fighting a pervasive sense of dis-ease with institutionally encoded rules. Isolation was the norm across groups and across professions. For those who were most visibly ‘Other’ overt hostility was startlingly common, in addition to everyday ‘microaggressions’ that reinforced marginality. Vicarious experiences were often extremely painful. Many participants took on extra work – often invisible and uncounted – to promote equity for others. People struggled with essentialism and tokenism, reducing them to their social identities, yet also with dismissal of their knowledge, experience, authority and critiques. Examining experiences across social groups, within the relatively elite context of three different professions, highlights similarities and distinctions in contemporary mechanisms of social exclusion within the professions.