Women in higher education : an analysis of narratives on gender in the workplace

De Wet, Maryke (2014-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to evaluate the extent to which women in higher education experience or are aware of possible limitations placed on them as women in work contexts that historically were the domain of men only. The research critically analysed semistructured interview responses from seven female participants from a South African university. The analysis aimed to investigate the participants’ individual and shared perceptions and to present a view of how they discursively construct their own experience within an academic work environment. The research draws on theories and methodologies developed within critical discourse analysis (CDA) in order to interpret the data. This study draws on Gee’s model of CDA, which conceptualises discourse as inherently political and ideological, and therefore seeks to make clear the discursive connections between discourses and the sociocultural, historical and institutional contexts in which it is created and interpreted. Thus, a close analysis of discourses provides insight into aspects of social reality, including how individuals construct themselves and their personal experiences, as well as their attitudes and assumptions about their social contexts. The study reveals that during their narratives the women participants addressed similar issues and themes relating to gender in an academic work place. The participants also used similar linguistic and discursive strategies to construct their narratives. Subsequent to an analysis of the data using Gee’s model of CDA, it was found that the participants do experience limitations in the workplace, but they did not always directly attribute these limitations to gender. After a final analysis of the ways in which participants express attitudes to the issues being addressed, the study finds that the participants are not often aware of dominant ideologies related to gender, or of how the ideologies affect their experiences.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doelwit van hierdie studie is om die mate waarin vroue in hoër onderwys ondervind of bewus is van moontlike beperkings wat op hulle geplaas word as vroue in werksomstandighede wat geskiedkundig deur mans domineer word. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met sewe vroulike deelnemers by ʼn Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit word krities ontleed. Die ontleding is daarop gemik om die deelnemers se individuele en gedeelde waarnemings te ondersoek, asook om die diskursiewe vertelling van hul ervarings uit te beeld. Teorieë en metodologieë wat ontwikkel is in kritiese diskoersanalise (CDA) word gebruik om die data te interpreteer, terwyl daar spesifieke gebruik gemaak word van Gee se model van kritiese analise. Gee se model konseptualiseer diskoers as inherent polities en ideologies en poog daarom om die diskursiewe verbande uit te wys wat vorm tussen diskoerse en sosiokulturele, geskiedkundige en institusionele kontekste. Dus, ʼn noukeurige ontleding van diskoers bied insig tot aspekte van die sosiale werklikheid, insluitend hoe individue hulself en hul persoonlike ervarings, en hul houdings en aannames oor sosiale kontekste opbou. Die studie toon aan dat die vroulike deelnemers soortgelyke kwessies en temas, met betrekking tot geslag in ʼn akademiese werksplek, tydens hul onderhoude bespreek het. Die deelnemers het ook soortgelyke taalkundige en diskursiewe strategieë benut om hul verhale te struktureer. Na ʼn ontleding van die data met behulp van Gee se model van kritiese analise, is daar gevind dat die deelnemers wel beperkings in die werksplek ervaar, alhoewel hul die beperkings nie altyd direk aan geslag toegeskryf het nie. Na ʼn finale ontleding van die maniere waarop deelnemers hul houdings teenoor die kwessies uitbeeld, het die studie gevind dat die deelnemers dikwels nie bewus is van die dominante ideologieë wat verband hou met geslag nie, of hoe hierdie ideologieë hul ervarings beïnvloed nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86557
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