Identity Transformation, Hegemonic Masculinity and Research on Professionalization

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Abstract

Despite more than two decades of antidiscrimination policies, diversity measures, and greater gender equality in graduate school admissions, recent studies reveal that hegemonic masculinity remains dominant in the socialization processes common to most professions. Hegemonic masculinity refers to the current dominant form of masculinity, which is a culturally idealized form of behavior that creates and reinforces institutions of male dominance over women and other men, including working class and men of color (Connell, Masculinities, Polity Press, Cambridge, 2005). These socialization processes involve the transformation of cognitive skills, the inculcation of ethical values, and emotions. I address the masculine nature of professionalization and suggest that centering on the ‘female’ professions in future research would provoke important questions about alternatives to standard ‘male’ forms of professionalization. I conclude by identifying directions for future research, particularly using action research to examine resistance and the institutionalization of inequalities in the professions.

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