Gender performativity in physics: affordances or only constraints?
- 408 Downloads
In this forum we engage in a dialogue with Allison Gonsalves’s paper ‘“Physics and the girly girl—there is a contradiction somewhere”: Doctoral students’ positioning around discourses of gender and competence in physics’. In her paper Gonsalves uses a sociocultural approach to examine women doctoral students’ stories about becoming physicists. In doing so her paper focuses on how discourses of masculinity and femininity can create available and unavailable positions for the women students. In this dialogue we do a parallel reading of two of the student narratives presented by Gonsalves, using Judith Butler’s (1990) concept of discursive agency as a means to more explicitly bring the affordances for women identity constitution offered by their localized physicist context to the fore, rather focusing on its, often more visible, constraints.
KeywordsPhysics Gender Doctoral students Identity
- Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Danielsson, A. T. (2009). Doing physics—doing gender: An exploration of physics students’ identity constitution in the context of laboratory work. Doctoral dissertation, Uppsala University.Google Scholar
- Davies, B., & Gannon, S. (2005). Feminism/Poststructuralism. In B. Somekh & C. Lewin (Eds.), Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A Guide for Students and Researchers (pp. 318–325). London: SAGE.Google Scholar
- Due, K. (2009). Fysik, lärande samtal och genus. En studie av gymnasieelevers gruppdiskussioner i fysik. Umeå: Print & Media Umeå Universitet.Google Scholar
- Halberstam, J. (1998). Female masculinity. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
- Harding, S. G. (1991). Whose science? Whose knowledge?: Thinking from women’s lives. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Keller, E. F. (1992). How gender matters, or, why it’s so hard for us to count past two. In G. Kirkup & L. S. Keller (Eds.), Inventing women: Science, technology and gender (pp. 42–56). Cambridge: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Mishler, E. G. (1999). Storylines: Craftartists’ narratives of identity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Seymour, E., & Hewitt, N. M. (1997). Talking about leaving. Why undergraduates leave the sciences. Boulder: Westview press.Google Scholar
- Youdell, D. (2006). Diversity, inequality, and a post structural politics for education. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural politics of Education, 27, 33–42.Google Scholar