Elite British Female Physicists: Social Mobility and Identity Negotiations

Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 19)


This chapter presents narrative accounts of the strategies and tactics used by successful women in physics. The cross-case analysis of these academic women’s trajectories demonstrates the salience of three significant experiences, and concurrent identity negotiations that facilitated their persistence in physics: (1) reliance on the self, (2) social support networks, and (3) the construction of a working class hero identity. This work presents suggestions for recruitment and retention of women in physics.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OxfordOxfordUK

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