Agents for change and changed agents: the micro-politics of change and feminism in the academy

Elizabeth Parsons, Vincenza Priola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article explores gender politics and processes in the academy and investigates change from the perspectives of feminist academics. In particular, it explores the experiences of women academics attempting to effect change to the gendered status quo of their own institutions. Focusing on micro-politics, the feminist movement is empirically explored in localized spaces of resistance and in the small but significant individual efforts at making changes in academic institutions. The analysis is based on interviews with female academics working in business and management schools and focuses on the challenges for change and how change attempts affect their personal and professional identities. The article explores the range of change strategies that participants use as they try to progress in their academic career while staying true to their feminist values and priorities through both resisting and incorporating dominant discourses of academic work. The analysis highlights such tensions and focuses on a contextualized, bottom-up perspective on change that, unlike more totalizing theorization, takes into account mundane and lived experiences at the level of the individual.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)580–598
Number of pages19
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number5
Early online date6 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013


  • feminism
  • change
  • gender
  • academia
  • identity
  • discourse


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