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LINGUIST List 20.1626

Tue Apr 28 2009

Diss: Socioling: McDowell: 'Gender, Language and Occupational Roles...'

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        1.    Joanne McDowell, Gender, Language and Occupational Roles: Exploring men's use of language within the female dominated environment of nursing

Message 1: Gender, Language and Occupational Roles: Exploring men's use of language within the female dominated environment of nursing
Date: 28-Apr-2009
From: Joanne McDowell <jmcdowellncb.org.uk>
Subject: Gender, Language and Occupational Roles: Exploring men's use of language within the female dominated environment of nursing
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Institution: University of Ulster
Program: Social Sciences
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Joanne McDowell

Dissertation Title: Gender, Language and Occupational Roles: Exploring men's use of language within the female dominated environment of nursing

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Dissertation Director:
Dr Catrin Rhys
Prof John Wilson

Dissertation Abstract:

Research has often centred on gender related patterns of discourse use,
dividing men and women's speech styles into two separate, homogenous
groups. Developments in language and gender studies have begun to argue
against existing stereotypes of gendered linguistic behaviour, as
linguistic behaviour is influenced by various factors, including a
speaker's surrounding context. The workplace and occupational discourse of
women and men is one area that has received attention. Researchers have
mainly investigated women's linguistic experiences in male dominated
occupations; few have examined how men behave linguistically when they are
the minority gender in their workplace. This study addresses the notion of
'stereotyped speech' and the effect of communicative context by analysing
the spontaneous speech of male nurses while at work. Through an
explanatory case study, we provide a distinctive context for the
examination of features typically associated with a particular gender. A
qualitative analysis of the data indicates that the male nurses' linguistic
behaviour does not differ, regardless of audience gender, status or
conversational topic, from what is classed as preferential female
linguistic speech. The fact that men are using such language in this
context challenges the applicability of gendered speech stereotypes.
Exploration into these findings reveals that the Community of Practice
approach (CofP) can best explain the men's linguistic behaviour. Their
linguistic repertoire fulfills discourse tasks essential to their
profession, (dealing with vulnerable patients, being non assertive, forming
a positive and collaborative relationship with other nurses), and could
therefore be a result of the nursing CofP and the work roles nurses perform.



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