A qualitative study of gender and work in a British riding school

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Calamatta, Katherine F G (2012)
  • Subject: SF310.A1

This thesis focuses on employees of the horse riding school sector within the United Kingdom. It is based on qualitative fieldwork at two riding schools that took place over the course of three years and asks two questions: why do women numerically dominate within the setting of the riding school? How can we best understand this phenomenon using sociological literature? The subject for this thesis was motivated by my own prior experience as a worker within this industry.\ud \ud The thesis will position the riding school sector within theoretical understandings of gender in the workplace, and women in society more generally. It will contribute to theorising about occupational segregation by sex, and current understanding of emotional labour, especially regarding the emotion work that is carried out around non-human animals.\ud \ud The riding school setting will be explored in terms of the skills that are valued by employees and the methods by which these skills are acquired. It will be demonstrated that concepts around skill provide a framework which maintains and recreates a concentration of women within the industry. Additionally, the gendered framework of the riding school will be positioned within a broader cultural understanding of the ‘innate’ skills of women, and the low value and status of these skills relative to those ‘possessed’ by men. The research will also explore the complexities of employee responses to the gendered representation of their work. The emotional labour that is undertaken in relation to non-human animals will be explicated, paying specific attention to gendered patterns displayed in this labour. Lastly, the thesis will scrutinise assumptions regarding positive emotional displays towards the horses by employees and will ask whether work with non-human animals evokes a greater sense of emotional authenticity than work with humans
  • References (1)

    INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................................................10 WOMEN AND WORK ................................................................................................................................10 EMOTIONAL LABOUR................................................................................................................................26 THE HORSE INDUSTRY AND THE FIELD OF HUMAN-ANIMAL STUDIES..................................................................42 Table one: Percentage of examination entrants by gender (2007-2008)..................................................................46 Table two: Percentage of instructors by gender (2007-2008)...................................................................................46 Table three: Percentage of BHS membership by gender (2007-2008).......................................................................46 CONCLUSION ..........................................................................................................................................60

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