Narratives of sex-segregated professional identities
Building on recent investigations of the role of gendered discourses in constructing and maintaining sex-segregated professions this article highlights the significance of small story analysis for the identification of positioning acts which function as rhetorical warrants for career choices and trajectories. It analyses small stories told by Speech and Language Therapists (SLTs) and investigates the tensions expressed in the negotiation and performance of their gendered professional identities. Small stories act as a medium of professional identity construction, rapport-building and as a site of contestation, employed to (re)appraise the social order, particularly with respect to 'women's' and 'men's' work. Gendered discourses are shown to impact not only on the amount of men entering the SLT profession but also the specialisms and progression routes that men and women pursue. The analysis points to the reproductive and regulatory power of gendered discourses on individuals' experience of their gendered subjectivity and professional identity.
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