This paper draws on the career narrative interviews with 15 female academics to unravel the performative politics of gender in Greek Medical Schools. I explore the gender positioning and embodied performances of Greek women as they relate to the contingencies of participation, recognition, and esteem in academic medicine and framed within the wider gendered discourses and structures of the increasingly neo-liberal Greek academia and society. Drawing on Butler’s notion of performativity, I illustrate the possibilities of making the successful Greek female academic subject through subjection to normative, gendered discourses of respectability, encompassing integrity, respectable aesthetics, and affective work and scripted along intersecting privileges of class and heteronormativity. I argue that although Greek women’s gendered professional authenticity and respectability projects demonstrate intentionality and agency, they leave little, if any, room for displacement of gender norms. Gender transformation and promotion of gender equality in Greek academia requires institutional support and political action.

Author Biography

Dr. Maria Tsouroufli is a Reader in Women and Gender at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. She is an established applied social scientist specialising in interdisciplinary and international research in education and employment aiming to contribute to theorising of gender, promoting gender equality and advancing social justice. Her work in the Sociology of Gender has been concerned with the relationship between policy, practice and inequalities, exploring how gender inequalities are connected to subjectivities, every day practices, pedagogy, culture and institutional processes. This research has spanned issues of gender, ethnicity, migration, sexuality and social class and has been underpinned by engagements with post-structural thinking about power, the subject, and the political and also by commitment to an emic approach to intersectionality. Her research has had academic impact by raising understandings of gender performances and intersecting inequalities in international work contexts. It has also had professional impact on educational institutions and educational and health/medical practice through engagement with practitioners and developing tools to promote diversity and gender sensitive school cultures.