Women’s careers internationally:a qualitative study of female Western knowledge professionals living in the South of France
Document Type Conference Paper
International Labour Process Conference, University College Dublin, Ireland, 18-20 March 2008
This paper is founded on a qualitative PhD study researching the careers of individuals who live outside their home country on a potentially permanent basis in the South of France. It interprets the careers of the females in the sample, and the findings highlight both the personal nature of careers and the permeable career/life boundary with the females ‘morphing’ their careers over time, as circumstances dictate and opportunities facilitate. The phenomenon of ‘morphing careers’ is identified in the literature as the protean career. Specific elements from the work/life trajectory influence women’s career choices at varying points in their life and career stage, with dual careers (trailing spouse) and children responsibilities most pertinent. The specific contribution of the research study is in its contextual richness. The research was pseudo-ethnographical with the researcher living among the author-termed ‘bounded transnational’ community prior to, during, and immediately after the in-depth semi-structured interview process. The South of France is significant in its cosmopolitan and lifestyle appeal; thus the study is regarded a geographical case due to its contextual specificity. The findings encourage debate on the content and potential of female international careers in an era where following a career internationally is less atypical.