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Title: Narratives of Swedish and Scottish architects : implications of identity construction on the work course
Author: Spaeth, Mary Shepard
Awarding Body: University of the West of Scotland
Current Institution: University of the West of Scotland
Date of Award: 2014
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Against a socio-historical background, this study examines how the occupational identities of architects are constructed and operationalised in Sweden and in Scotland as a means to understand how their individual and associative roles might differ from one another in the context of the dynamics of socialisation as they progress in their career life course and how the social construction of their identity may impact work practice in the field of architecture. Identity research within the creative industries and in particular among architects has not typically been cross-national. Moreover, few studies regarding gender in the profession have included both men and women. The narratives of twenty-three architects from diverse practices in Scotland and Sweden reveal important cultural, professional, political and gender differences that illuminate opportunities as well as barriers to training, employability, enterprise development, and professional progression. Via narratives from twenty-three architects in Scotland and Sweden across three generations and supported by historical, statistical, and cultural data as well as initial focus group studies, this research has explored ways that these architects identify themselves and each other within the context of their life and work courses. Results of the comparative study suggest that differences between practices and thought in several key areas in each country affect the work course of architects: 1) labour policy with regard to public and private employment of architects; 2) theoretical and practical emphases in architectural education; 3) titling and certification of architects; 4) family and childcare policy; 5) cultural and historical attitudes toward men and women, and 6) values related to aesthetics, success, and risk. In addition to these, it was clear that the less extraordinary but unpredictable turns of life that include personal relationships, job and client searches, geographic mobility, timing of education and employment, and historical and cultural influences are undeniably factors, albeit immeasurable, that influence the kinds of decisions that individuals make. Understood in the contexts of organisational identity and the social construction of identity and through the socio-historical lens of life course perspectives, the extracts of narrative biographies reveal how these individuals navigate their professional lives and how their accommodation strategies change over time. Understanding these strategies offer further insights regarding architecture education, forms of practice, and the professional culture thereby leading to a reduction in attrition among women in architecture and an increase in occupational life satisfaction, particularly but not exclusively within the creative industries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available