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Woman and Professor in Music Education – work experiences and ethical dilemmas

Conference contribution
Authors Carina Borgström Källén
Published in Nordic Network Research in Music Education, 2019
Publication year 2019
Published at Academy of Music and Drama
Language en
Subject categories Music education


NNMPF 2019, Stockholm, Senior Papers Woman and Professor in Music Education – Work experiences and ethical dilemmas Carina Borgström Källén, University of Gothenburg In this paper I will present parts of an on-going study that investigates work experiences in academia, as described by women who are professors in Music Education. The overall objective of the research project is to increase and deepen knowledge of female professors’ working situation in academia. The study takes its point of departure in previous research on women academics’ work experiences. This body of research shows gender inequality in academia in general among staff and students at many Western universities. Another starting point is research from disciplines within education in the Performing Arts, pointing at a problematic situation concerning gender equality in preparatory educations and in higher education. Research also shows gender inequality in Arts institutions outside academia, such as opera houses, theatre companies and symphony orchestras. A question asked in this study is how female professors in Music Education, being engaged in a discipline positioned in close relation both to academic traditions such as pedagogy and musicology, and to conservatoire traditions in artistic research in musical performance, are describing their work experiences in terms of career, impact, responsibility and work load. Specifically, the project focuses on the following questions: What experiences do female professors in Music Education have when it comes to their career and their everyday work situation? What aspects do they speak of as essential for dealing with problematic situations at work? How do they describe gender equality in relation to their situation at work? The empirical material was produced through three focus group discussions, in total seven hours of data, and the participants are professors in Music Education at universities in a Nordic context. For analyzing the data Pierre Bourdieu’s field theory is applied, complemented by Raewyn Connell’s theory of gender relations and gender equality. As analytical tools Bourdieu’s concepts habitus, cultural capital, symbolic capital and consecration are used together with Connell’s concepts of power and production relations. When the result is presented the study will apply narrative as a method, using the participants’ stories and experiences as a basis for constructing work-experience narratives for three compiled fictional professors. In this presentation I will firstly focus on questions of ethics and methodology within the study. This is crucial, since the group of female professors in Music Education in a Nordic context constitute a small number. I will therefore describe how I, in collaboration with the participants, decided on a design for the study that addresses ethical problems connected to anonymity. The design was constructed at a three-hour meta-method meeting the day before the first focus group. As a first step ethical dilemmas were discussed and a meta-method plan for how to handle them was made by me in collaboration with the participants. The plan consisted of strategies for anonymization, such as how to communicate the study to others before publication, agreements of letting the participants check their own parts of the transcripts, agreements of letting the participants read and comment on the narratives before publication. Secondly, I intend to present some preliminary results. At this early stage of the study findings suggest a very diverse work situation for the professors. They also suggest that educational context is crucial for how female professors experience their work.

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Utskriftsdatum: 2019-09-22