Narrating career, positioning identity and constructing gender in an Italian adolescent's personal narratives

Maria Chiara Pizzorno, Angelo Benozzo, Neil Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores identity career narratives as a gendered and gendering discourse. The 'gender differences' approach to career development conceives of gender as a dichotomous and fixed variable influencing various aspects of career. In contrast to this mainstream approach, the paper adopts a post-structural view and reads identity and gender in terms of performativity, that is to say, constituted through the productive power of discourses. Through a detailed analysis of a text written by Giada, an adolescent involved in a career counseling project in Italy, we analyze how her career narratives implicate and constitute gender in their telling. In particular, we present the discourses that frame Giada's career narrative and we highlight how these discourses position Giada as a woman and as female. These discourses can be read as regulatory discourses: shaping and reflecting particular understandings of gender. However, we also highlight Giada's agency in questioning the regulatory practice of such discourses through linguistic acts. In the conclusions, we further explore the potential implications of these research findings for a rethinking of career counseling research and practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-204
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Vocational Behavior
Early online date11 Mar 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Agency
  • Career narrative
  • Discourse
  • Gender
  • Identity
  • Performativity

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