A study of the status dilemmas and contradictions in certain occupations: the marginal woman
The problem under investigation within this thesis is to determine whether dilemmas and contradictions of status exist for females in male dominated occupations, and to some extent, for males in female dominated occupations.
Everett C. Hughes first conceptualized the problem in "Dilemmas and Contradictions of Status". (1945) Professor Hughes maintained that statuses tend to develop auxiliary characteristics which come to be expected of it's incumbents. When these auxiliary characteristics are not exhibited, dilemmas and contradictions of status may occur.
The review of the literature explored the implications of Hughes' article. In reviewing the historical development of status dilemmas and contradictions such authors as Georg Simmel, Robert E. Park, Robert Merton and Elinor Barber are perused. In reviewing the contemporary supportive literature, key authors include Jessie Bernard, Cynthia F. Epstein, Gerhard Lenski and David Knoke.
In operationalizing status dilemmas, the symbolic interactionist approach and the cultural soliloquy technique are utilized. Male and female professors at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University expressed dilemmas that they encounter in interacting with colleagues of the opposite sex.
In operationalizing status contradictions, the structural functionalist approach and the survey technique are utilized. Students in introductory sociology classes are surveyed. It is found that status contradictions exist for females in male dominated occupations and for males in female dominated occupations.
It is concluded that status contradictions exist in the status structure. When individuals, in interaction situations, internalize the contradiction and act with uncertainty, then status dilemmas occur.