By Susan E. Chase

Like different girls who paintings in professions ruled by means of white males, girls institution superintendents inform tales approximately emerging to influential positions, constructing self belief of their authority and skill, but carrying on with to confront discriminatory therapy in an career established via gender and racial inequalities.

In this publication, Susan E. Chase examines those contradictory reviews of strength and subjection, drawing on interviews with expert ladies of assorted ethnic and racial backgrounds who head colleges in rural, small-town, and concrete districts around the usa. Chase makes a speciality of the stress, 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 luck, she indicates how those girls have constructed quite a number narrative concepts for articulating and dealing with their ambiguous empowerment.

Innovative in perception and interdisciplinary in strategy, this learn contributes to our knowing of ways basic social processes―the copy 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 specialist 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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Women superintendents' stories are compelling and moving, but they do not reveal new and unusual forms of power or discrimination. Indeed, it is their familiar character that interests me. In this book, I study these familiar stories in order to understand how professional women make sense of their contradictory experiences of power and subjectiontheir ambiguous empowermentin the context of contemporary American culture. This means that I do not simply report women superintendents' stories or present them as if their meanings were self-evident.

Martinez continually highlights her professional competence and deliberately excludes stories about subjection she experiences as a Hispanic woman in a white-dominated profession. Nelson recasts past experience as sex discrimination only after she lets go of discourse about ambition. By contrast, Margaret Parker and Karen Rhodes, in chapters 5 and 6, integrate stories about professional work and inequality and develop narrative strategies that tend to undermine the disjunction between the two discursive realms.

By examining how women superintendents talk about their relationships with women colleagues, I explore the structural and discursive conditions that make it difficult for them to develop collective solutions to the persistent problem of inequality in their profession. The interview material I analyze in this book belongs to a collaborative research project Colleen Bell and I began in 1986. As I describe in the appendix''The Research Project"we started with an interest in women superintendents' work experiences and the processes that reproduce or challenge male and white dominance in the profession.

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