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The Thin End of the Wedge. Foreign Women Professors as Double Strangers in Academia




The impetus for this study was an observation that many of the women who obtained the first chairs at European universities were foreigners. Our initial attempt to provide a statistical picture proved impossible, because there were numerous problems deciding the contents of such concepts as "first", "university professor", and "foreigner". We have therefore focused on four life stories. It turns out that being a "double stranger" – a woman in a masculine profession and a foreigner – is not, as one might think, a cumulative disadvantage. Rather, it seems that these two types of strangeness might cancel one another, permitting these women a greater degree of success than was allowed their "native" sisters. This situation was far from providing psychological comfort, however. Thus the metaphor of the wedge: opening the doors but suffering from double pressure.

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  • Czarniawska, Barbara & Sevón, Guje, 2005. "The Thin End of the Wedge. Foreign Women Professors as Double Strangers in Academia," GRI-rapport 2005:7, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg Research Institute GRI.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhb:gungri:2005_007

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    wedge; stranger; Simmel; Schütz; women in academia; intersectionality;

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