Opting Out and In: On women’s careers and new lifestyles introduces a new perspective and definition of opting out that better reflects contemporary issues and lifestyles. The book offers a timely and comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon of women leaving high-powered careers, adding to current debates on opting out. It investigates the themes of globalization, individualization and the age of high modernity and addresses issues of how gender, in the context of what it means to be a mother and career woman in a masculinist society, affects decisions to opt out. In contrast to previous debates, the definition of opting out is broadened to include leaving prevalent masculinist notions of career to adopt alternative ways of working.
To better understand the identity issues and inner workings of the women who opt out, opting out is critically examined through three lenses: agency and autonomy; gender, femininity and the maternal; and, finally, concepts of reinvention. These three areas of inquiry all raise and problematize relevant issues that are present in women’s lives, and that have a deep and defining effect on concepts of the self. The book includes the narratives of six women, interwoven with in-depth social theory and relevant debates.
Written in an engaging and accessible style, Opting Out and In will strongly appeal to researchers and practitioners alike, working in areas such as social theory, globalization, feminist studies and identity studies.
Introduction: Opting Out and In
I.1. A Debated Phenomenon
I.2. A Narrative Approach to Studying Opting Out
I.3. The Narratives
I.4. Introducing the Women
I.5. The Structure of the Book
1. Globalization, Individualization, and Gender in Contemporary Society
1.1. Globalization, Technology, and Media
1.2. Post-traditional, Risk Society
1.3. The Effect of Globalization on Working Culture
1.4. Gendered Organizations
1.5. Focusing on Work-Life Balance: Problems and Paradoxes
1.6. Competing Schemas
2. Lacking Agency, Coherence, and Control
2.1. Linn: The Love of Work and the Vitality of Living
2.2. Understanding Agency
2.3. Naomi and the Wakeup Call of the Emergency Room
2.4. The Importance of Narrative
2.5. Autonomy: An Alternative View
3. Gender and Femininity in Contemporary Society
3.1. Amy and the Unexpected Need to Be with Her Children
3.2. The Symbolic, Semiotic, and Maternal
3.3. Mediated Womanhood
3.4. Ella: Stepping Off the Ladder while Staying On at Work
3.5. Contemporary Feminism and the Freedom to Choose
4. Opting In
4.1. Michelle: The Journey from Incoherence to Coherence and Control
4.3. Nora’s Story: "I pulled the hand brake"
4.4. Reflection, Authenticity, and the Threat to Identity
5. Epilogue: Opting Out and Then What?
5.1. Linn: Confidence in Knowing What She Wants
5.2. Ella: Back on The Fast Track?
5.3. Nora: Getting Her Business Off the Ground
5.4. Michelle and the Ebbs and Flows of Life
5.5. Amy: Getting Back on the Job Market
5.6. Naomi and the Wear and Tear of Constant Transitioning
5.7. Opting Out – A Story of Success?
ANTINOMIES – NEW ROUTLEDGE SERIES
Innovations in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Creative Arts
Series Editors: Anthony Elliott and Jennifer Rutherford
Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia
This series addresses the importance of innovative contemporary, comparative and conceptual research on the cultural and institutional contradications of our times and our lives in these times. Antinomies publishes theoretically innovative work that critically examines the ways in which social, cultural, political and aesthetic change is rendered visible in the global age, and that is attentive to novel contradictions arising from global transformations. Books in the Series are from authors both well-established and early careers researchers. Authors will be recruited from many, diverse countries – but a particular feature of the Series will be its strong focus on research from Asia and Australasia. The Series addresses the diverse signatures of contemporary global contradictions, and as such seeks to promote novel transdisciplinary understandings in the humanities, social sciences and creative arts.
The Series Editors are especially interested in publishing books in the following areas that fit with the broad remit of the series:
Please contact the series editors with proposals for the series at:
Anthony Elliott and Jennifer Rutherford
Hawke Research Institute
University of South Australia
Underdale SA 5032
GPO Box 2471
Adelaide SA 5001