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Performing masculinity: considering gender in doctoral student socialization

Margaret W. Sallee (University at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, USA)

International Journal for Researcher Development

ISSN: 2048-8696

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this article is to suggest that doctoral student socialization is a gendered process.


This article uses a qualitative case study methodology, studying engineering students in one university department.


The author considers how various norms and practices, including competition and hierarchy along with overt objectification of women, point to the masculine nature of the discipline.


Although stage models of socialization are helpful in that they provide an outline of students’ various tasks as they progress through their doctoral programs, they can account neither for the culture of disciplines nor for the identities of students who populate them. The author suggests that students in engineering are prepared to embrace competition and hierarchy, norms that point to a gendered disciplinary culture. Although, certainly, particular interests will lead students to pursue different majors, the discipline serves to reinforce culture.



© 2011 - Reprinted with permission of The Ohio State University Press

This paper was originally published in The Journal of Higher Education, Vol 82, No 2, (March/April 2011). The author would like to thank Bill Tierney, Jaime Lester, Norma Mertz and three anonymous reviewers for helpful feedback on drafts of this article.


W. Sallee, M. (2014), "Performing masculinity: considering gender in doctoral student socialization", International Journal for Researcher Development, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 99-122.



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Copyright © 2014, Authors

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