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Gender Inequality and the Structure of Occupational Identity: The Case of Elite Sociological Publication

Networks, Work and Inequality

ISBN: 978-1-78190-539-5, eISBN: 978-1-78190-540-1

Publication date: 8 April 2013


Purpose – While important changes have been made in the American workplace, gender inequality persists. Contemporary analyses of occupational segregation suggest that gendered roles and identities may be playing a role, yet few studies explicitly tackle the effects of occupational identity on female disadvantage at work. Moreover, most previous research ignores the structured, multidimensionality of occupational identity focusing on more overt one-dimensional forms of status differentiation. Using sociological work as a case, these analyses delineate how occupational identities contribute to and differentiate publication success – and thus status hierarchies – for men and women in the sociological field.Findings – Net of human capital, results demonstrate the pronounced effect of the structure of occupational identity on publication: An often hidden form of job-queuing, occupational identities are gendered and influence the publication process. Differential rewards based on subtly gendered distinctions prove an important source of persistent inequalities.Social implications – While gender alone may not directly influence publication in premier research journals for more recent cohorts of sociologists, the gendered nature of research specialization and the distribution of rewards based, in part, on specialization present a troubling, more subtle stratifying mechanism.Originality/value of the chapter – This chapter contributes to our understanding of the puzzling pertinence of gender inequality in the academy by pinpointing how the organization of research into specialties is gendered and how this gendering of research affects important outcomes, such as publication. The paper also contributes to our broader understanding of inequality at work as an example of how occupational identity is multidimensional and networked.



Light, R. (2013), "Gender Inequality and the Structure of Occupational Identity: The Case of Elite Sociological Publication", Mcdonald, S. (Ed.) Networks, Work and Inequality (Research in the Sociology of Work, Vol. 24), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 239-268.



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