The Performance of Occupational Closure: The Case of Agriculture and Gender

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It is generally accepted that gendered occupational closure is a thing of the past and the inequalities that women now experience in the labour market are due to segregation and segmentation of employment. In this article it is argued that agriculture still displays gendered occupational closure. Previous research has considered structural closure, focusing on patrilineal inheritance and exclusion from farming organizations. Here structural exclusion is considered, but more attention is paid to the interactional processes of occupational closure. Consideration is given to symbolic interaction, non-verbal communication, exclusionary tactics and language. How the dominant group justify their actions is considered along with the justification sometimes offered by the subordinate group. How structure and agency intertwine is considered alongside how change occurs. The research is based on qualitative interviews and focus groups conducted in Scotland. The article concludes that change does and has occurred, but the rate of change in agriculture remains low because of processes of gendered structural and interactional social closure.




Shortall, S., McKee, A., & Sutherland, L. A. (2020). The Performance of Occupational Closure: The Case of Agriculture and Gender. Sociologia Ruralis, 60(1), 40–57.

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