Identification Through Disidentification: A Life Course Perspective on Professional Belonging

Mary Shepard Spaeth, Katarzyna Kosmala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing upon narratives from three women architects in Scotland across three generations, this paper explores ways that these women simultaneously identify and disidentify with thecollective identity of professional architects. Through identification, the women accommodate traditional social constructions of the male-dominated architecture profession, whilst also asserting themselves as full-fledged individual members of that profession. Understood in the context of organisational identity and through the socio-historical lens of life course perspectives, the paper uses extracts of narrative biographies to reveal how some individuals navigate their professional lives and how strategies for “accommodation” change over time. Understanding these strategies may offer insights regarding architectural 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-233
Number of pages18
JournalArchitectural Theory Review
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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