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Body Beautiful? Gender, Identity and the Body in Professional Services Firms

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Kathryn Haynes


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This article explores the professional identity formation of professionals and its relationship with their embodied physical image, with a particular focus on women in accounting and law. It examines the role of the professional services firm in defining a professional body image, socialization processes that contribute to the definition of the professional body, the role of the client in defining professionalism, the legitimation of certain types of embodied identities and the importance of the body in defining gendered perceptions of the self. The article draws on Bourdieu’s concepts of capital to explore how physical capital is implicated in processes of socialization, subordination and control. By examining the development of professional embodiment of women in accounting and law, and drawing on interviews with contemporary practitioners, the article argues that notions of physical capital remain highly gendered in professional services firms, with implications for equality and diversity in the professions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Haynes K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Gender, Work and Organization

Year: 2012

Volume: 19

Issue: 5

Pages: 489-507

Print publication date: 22/12/2011

ISSN (print): 0968-6673

ISSN (electronic): 1468-0432

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2011.00583.x


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