Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change

By Jim Barry; Mike Dent et al. | Go to book overview

only in practice, having no existence outside the arena in which it is continuously made and remade. Brenda's adoption of more 'formal' dress belies her experience of care giving as stereotypically associated with women and denies caring for the elderly as physical and often very dirty work. In sum, the notion of 'being a professional' can be regarded as mutually interconstitutive of certain constructions of masculinity and of being a manager. The two women here are transgressors of professional identity in that they are, to varying degrees, subjected to, and subjects of, organisationally generated pressures to comply with the dictates of public sector management practice in order to appear successful and competent as professionals. This exemplifies what Gherardi (1995) has referred to as the 'schizogenia' of many women's existence in organisational locales in which organisational affirmations of selfhood commensurate with the professional ideal are overlain by gender 'as both an organisational principle and an organisational outcome' (ibid.: 185). Karen's professional identity is explicitly overlaid but in tension with ideas about her role as mother/manager/woman/family breadwinner. This underscores the concept of identity as gendered, always in process, made and remade in differing contexts. The idea of the precariousness of identity, of identity as in a permanent state of 'work in progress', sits in opposition to a conception of the solidity of identity found in much mainstream management thinking. Such thinking imposes a seamless rationality on the part of selfconscious, 'knowing' managers. By contrast, flowing from a poststructuralist feminist perspective, we can see professional identity as gendered but also as open to resistance, to moments of contestation, transformation and change. For as transgressors of professional identity, the public sector managers interviewed here are both marginalised, as women, by professional practices of organisations and equally capable of subverting prevailing power relations.


References
Bendix, R. (1956) Work and Authority in Industry, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Clarke, J. and Newman, J. (1997) The Managerial State, London: Sage.
Clawson, D. (1980) Bureaucracy and the Labour Process, New York: Monthly Review Press.
Collinson, D. and Hearn, J. (eds) (1996) Men as Managers: Managers as Men, London: Sage.
Edwards, R. C. (1979) Contested Terrain: The Transformation of Work in the Twentieth Century, London: Heinemann.
Ferguson, K. E. (1984) The Feminist Case Against Bureaucracy, Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.
Foucault, M. (1980) Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977 (ed. C. Gordon), Brighton: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Foucault, M. (1982) 'The subject and power', in Dreyfus, H. and Rainbow, P. (eds), Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Brighton: Harvester Press, pp. 67-81.

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Gender and the Public Sector: Professionals and Managerial Change
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements xvi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Contexts and Networks 13
  • 1 - New Labour, Governance and the Politics of Diversity 15
  • Notes 25
  • 2 - Gendered States, Critical Engagements 27
  • 3 - Managing Transformation? 44
  • 4 - Gender, Welfare Regimes and the Medical Profession in France and Greece 65
  • Notes 80
  • Part II - Managing Professional Work 83
  • 5 - Identifying the Professional 'Man'Ager 85
  • 6 - Women's Positioning in a Bureaucratic Environment 104
  • 7 - Plural Frames of Work in Public Sector Organisations 120
  • Note 133
  • 8 - On the Front Line 136
  • 9 - Hard Nosed or Pink and Fluffy? 154
  • References 168
  • 10 - Ministering Angels and the Virtuous Profession 170
  • References 184
  • Part III - Identity and Biography 187
  • 11 - Gendered Narratives of the Management of Residential Care Homes 189
  • 12 - The Problematic Professional 205
  • References 216
  • Index 218
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