A Long Goodbye to the ‘Good Girl’: An Auto-ethnographic Account

  • Pat Thomson
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Gender and Education book series (GED)


The contemporary university relies on academic staff who are ready and willing to be highly productive on a number of fronts—publish widely and for a range of audiences, publish for audit purposes, attract funding, work in interdisciplinary teams, produce demonstrable research impact, teach face to face and online to increasing numbers of students, and so on. In this chapter I consider, mobilising Bourdieu, how these performative institutional logics and practices trigger responses in particular women, those of us trained to be ‘good girls’. Using myself as an example, and working to find the social in the individual narrative, I argue that schooling and family practices combined with second wave feminism to produce academic women highly disposed to getting ahead in the scholarly game while also, and at the same time, being suspicious and critical of it. Facing the inevitability of retirement I, and other women in a similar position, may finally be able to adopt a different strategy, that of ‘doing just enough of what’s expected’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pat Thomson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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