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Imagining Women's Careers$
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Laurie Cohen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199697199

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697199.001.0001

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Telling Career Stories

Telling Career Stories

(p.13) 2 Telling Career Stories
Imagining Women's Careers

Laurie Cohen

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces and justifies the social constructionist perspective underpinning the analysis. It highlights the centrality of context, both materially and ideologically, and introduces a key focus of the analysis: women’s accounts of the relationship between their thinking and action and the structures in which they are embedded. It argues that career is an apt vehicle for examining this interplay. In spite of the predominance of individualized notions of career both in the academic literature and common-sense usage, a social constructionist perspective illustrates the social nature of career. This will be an ongoing thread in the unfolding analysis. The second half of the chapter introduces the narrative methodology used to generate the data. It discusses the particular value of a narrative approach for the ways in which individuals account for their navigation through varied and sometimes contested social structures, and for illuminating the idea of career aas a social process.

Keywords:   social constructionism, narrative approaches, structure, agency, career as a social process, career identity

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