Gender and Language, Vol 5, No 2 (2011)

“We are in a masculine profession…”: Constructing gender identities in a consortium of two multinational engineering companies

Jo Angouri
Issued Date: 20 Dec 2011


The paper discusses the construction gender identities in a complex white-collar workplace. Recent work has repeatedly suggested that gender is not something people have or are but something people do. Despite this rich body of work, gender is still often operationalised as biological sex and is employed as an explanatory variable to account for perceived differences in interaction. By analogy, the paper also addresses the multinational profile of modern workplaces and also problematises the widely held assumption that people from different countries ‘do work’ in distinct ways.

The paper draws on recordings of real life routine meetings and interview data. Special attention is paid to Chloe the only senior female member of the team. The analysis shows that the employees draw on both normatively masculine and feminine interactional styles according to the context of the interaction and the co-constructed norms of their community. However the industry is still perceived and constructed as by and large a ‘masculine’ domain.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v5i2.373


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