Berkovitch et al., Blind Spots of Women’s Discrimination in Academy

Berkovitch, Nitza, Anat Waldman & Niza Yanay. “The Politics of (In)Visibility: On the Blind Spots of Women’s Discrimination in the Academy.” Culture and Organization 18.3 (2012): 251-275.





The aim of this study is to show how invisible institutional culture participates in the production and propagation of gender difference and hierarchy. To that end, we examine the official publications of one Israeli university in order to explore cultural mechanisms that signify hidden conceptions, ideologies and iconic images of women in the academe. Conceptualizing these publications as cultural products that operate as the public image of the university and hence participate in its overall construction of ideologies of gendered reality, we analyze, both qualitatively and quantitatively, images, visual representations and scripts of university women as they appear in the university bulletins, president’s reports, and various newsletters from 1974 to 2004 (in Hebrew and in English). Having looked at over 5000 articles and photographs, we found that although the presence of women in the publications has increased over the years, their images and roles continue to be feminized and sexist. Thus, more space is devoted and more visibility given to stereotyped femininity and womanhood. Moreover, we explore the ways in which mechanisms that create a complex politics of visibility and invisibility produce contested and contradictory messages and participate in the creation of what we call the blind spots of discrimination.

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