Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Break the Pattern! A critical enquiry into three scientific workplace cultures: Hercules, Caretakers and Worker Bees

Project ID: 518048
Funded under: FP6-SOCIETY


Understanding Puzzles in the Gendered European Map (UPGEM)1 is an international collaboration between Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Italy and Poland. The project examines the influence of culture on everyday life at university as a workplace. One important aspect of the project is the exploration of culturally and historically formed differences in gendered career paths in physics. Another aspect is uncovering any possible reasons for leaving or continuing a career as a scientist in physics in academia. The UPGEM project has previously published five national reports2 which deal with both of these aspects. In this publication, we investigate the complexity of the professional everyday work life in academia while taking up the analytical, theoretical and methodological challenge inherent in working with this complexity. We present the cultural patterns that have emerged in our analysis of universities as workplaces taking the physicists’ activity as our case, but judging from our own experience, the analysis of the selection mechanisms could easily be applied to other disciplines in academia.

We also discuss how career paths of male and female physicists are conditioned by these cultural patterns and how male and female physicists are given different conditions for developing as scientists in relation to a number of themes such as time management, family life, work place identities, selection (i.e. inclusion and exclusion) mechanisms, creativity and hierarchy.

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