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Mother-teacher-scholar-advocates: narrating work-life on the professorial plateau

Elisabeth Lowenstein (Independent Scholar, Indiana City, Indiana, USA)
Darolyn “Lyn” Jones (Department of English, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, USA)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 16 November 2020

Issue publication date: 29 July 2021




In this study, two mother-scholars describe their lived experiences working in higher education in the USA while parenting children with disabilities. They situate their narratives within the context of institutionalized motherhood, courtesy stigma and the career plateau experienced by many working mothers of children with disabilities.


Within this collaborative autoethnography, the authors employ autoethnographic narrative and poetic inquiry.


The authors reveal unique work-life tensions that they have experienced as mothers, teachers and scholars, reflecting on the experiences that led them to become advocates for people and families with disabilities.

Practical implications

The authors aim to reduce stigma and to disrupt the career plateau by offering suggestions to help coworkers and supervisors be more supportive of working parents of children with disabilities.


The authors enumerate the advantages of collaborative autoethnography in uncovering how stigma against mothers of children with disabilities is manifested within an academic community.



Lowenstein, E. and Jones, D.“. (2021), "Mother-teacher-scholar-advocates: narrating work-life on the professorial plateau", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 132-146.



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