Experiences from Academia Around the World
Edited by Saija Katila, Susan Meriläinen and Janne Tienari
Chapter 12: Carrying on the Collaborative Effort: Becoming Academics in the Wake of a Feminist Intervention Project
Elina Henttonen and Kirsi LaPointe INTRODUCTION We represent a new generation of gender scholars in our academic work community; the unit of Organization and Management at Helsinki School of Economics, Finland. The purpose of this chapter is to discuss the construction of our professional identities as academics in the wake of a feminist intervention project undertaken by two former colleagues, Saija Katila and Susan Meriläinen, who also serve as the editors of this book (for published details of the projects see Katila and Meriläinen 1999, 2002). Our perspective in this chapter is that of female doctoral students who are in the process of learning what it means to be an academic. We both have a Master’s degree in Organization and Management from our unit and began our doctoral studies in 2002 – some time after the most active debate concerning Saija’s and Susan’s participatory interventions had subsided. Saija and Susan’s feminist interventions date back to their five-year research project which started in 1996. The aim of their participative, actionoriented project was to make visible and change practices that were constraining the construction of women’s professional identities in our unit, and to open up discussion about gender discrimination and unequal power relations in academia (Katila and Meriläinen 1999, p. 164). As part of their project, Saija and Susan used their own experiences and incidents from the unit to analyse and write about the apparent gender-neutrality of organizational discourses. Moreover, they openly challenged these practices by sharing and discussing their...
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