Aarhus University Seal

Rethinking gender equity in the contaminated university: A methodology for listening for music in the ruins

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Kirsten Locke, University of Auckland
  • ,
  • Rebecca W.B. Lund, University of Oslo
  • ,
  • Susan Wright

This paper offers a new way to engage with gender, race, and class relations in academic leadership and organizations. Viewing our research materials through different images helps us to ask new questions, open up new kinds of answers and ultimately other ways of knowing gender and leadership in academia. Our approach has three connected steps. Firstly, we engage with the ruins of the three main promises upon which the contemporary university has been built: enlightenment, liberalism, and feminism, drawing on Anna Tsing's mushrooms at the end of the world and Gibson-Graham's notion of a post-capitalist economy. Secondly, we use intersectionality as a methodological lens, combining it with Karen Barad's ideas about how “matter comes to matter.” We explore the intersections between four themes arising from the accounts of our participants: Reshaping the disciplinary field; gender, class, and race; traveling and mobility; and Institutional structures and policies. The third and final step engages with how some women successfully coordinate these intersecting themes to navigate their careers and achieve leadership positions within the contaminated and ruinous university environment. In doing so, we draw on the musical form of the fugue with its four themes that at different moments diverge, clash and, if successful, achieve resolution, to provide us with a way for analyzing the women's stories as “polyphony-in-action.” By using this musical approach to retool intersectionality, we are able to show how some women managed to bring all four themes of their lives into symbiosis and achieve value in the ruinous academic landscape.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Pages (from-to)1079-1097
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

    Research areas

  • gender in academia, intersectionality, mattering, post-capitalism, ruins, the fugue, university leadership, Videregående uddannelse, Køn, Ledelse

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 228122103