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Conforming to and resisting imposed identities – an autoethnography on academic motherhood

Conforming to and resisting imposed identities – an autoethnography on academic motherhood This research attempts to make sense of the experiences of two academic women who become mothers.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is an autoethnography. Applying the autoethnographic method allows us to discuss cultural phenomena through personal reflections and experiences. Our autoethnographic reflections illustrate our struggles and attempts of resistance within discursive spaces where motherhood and our identity as academics intersect.FindingsOur personal experiences combined with theoretical elaborations illuminate how the role of the mother continues to be dominated by such gendered discursive practices that conflict with the work role. Once women become mothers, they are othered through societal and organizational practices because they constitute a visible deviation from the masculine norm in the organizational setting, academia included.Originality/valueThis paper explores how contemporary motherhood discourse(s)within academia and the wider society present competing truth claims, embedded in neoliberal and postfeminist cultural sensibility. Our autoethnographic reflections show our struggles and attempts of resistance within such discursive spaces. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Conforming to and resisting imposed identities – an autoethnography on academic motherhood

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1746-5648
DOI
10.1108/qrom-07-2021-2175
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This research attempts to make sense of the experiences of two academic women who become mothers.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is an autoethnography. Applying the autoethnographic method allows us to discuss cultural phenomena through personal reflections and experiences. Our autoethnographic reflections illustrate our struggles and attempts of resistance within discursive spaces where motherhood and our identity as academics intersect.FindingsOur personal experiences combined with theoretical elaborations illuminate how the role of the mother continues to be dominated by such gendered discursive practices that conflict with the work role. Once women become mothers, they are othered through societal and organizational practices because they constitute a visible deviation from the masculine norm in the organizational setting, academia included.Originality/valueThis paper explores how contemporary motherhood discourse(s)within academia and the wider society present competing truth claims, embedded in neoliberal and postfeminist cultural sensibility. Our autoethnographic reflections show our struggles and attempts of resistance within such discursive spaces.

Journal

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 30, 2022

Keywords: Autoethnography; Academic motherhood; Gendered work practices; Resistance; Neoliberal academia; Postfeminism

References