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The 'self-interested' woman academic: A consideration of Beck's model of the 'individualised individual'

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christine Skelton


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The work of Ulrich Beck, particularly his concept of the 'individualised individual', is increasingly cited by educational social scientists. As yet, there have been few empirical investigations that consider how applicable and relevant is the notion of the 'individualised individual' in understanding how people make sense of their lives (for an exception, see Reay, 2003). This paper considers Beck's assertion that social class is of increasingly less importance as society shifts from a first to a second modernity. Interviews were carried out into the career experiences of a group of academic women working in higher education institutions. The conclusions reached suggest that if Beck's theory is to be useful in understanding contemporary actors in contemporary societies then the critical concepts he introduces need to be articulated by researchers in more complex ways.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Skelton C

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Sociology of Education

Year: 2005

Volume: 26

Issue: 1

Pages: 5-16

ISSN (print): 0142-5692

ISSN (electronic): 1465-3346


DOI: 10.1080/0142569042000292680