My doctoral research Indentured and modern apprenticeship in the horseracing industry: a gendered analysis is interdisciplinary, drawing upon social history, sociology and social anthropology. I use the ideas of Pierre Bourdieu, especially his concepts of habitus, capital and field, to analyse processes of embodied learning and gendered practices within the horse racing field. I characterise the racing field as one that is gendered masculine. Although the composition of the workforce and the conditions of entry have changed, particularly since the late 1960s, with an upward shift in the number of women employed, the racing field is still dominated by men. This means that women working in the field must learn to embody masculinity. Lester Piggott, a well-known jockey, said (in the 1970s) that women's 'bottoms were the wrong shape' to become jockeys while Kirsty Milczarek, one of the few successful women jockeys, just wants to be seen 'as one of the lads'. Both statements refer to gender and both relate to how women must embody masculinity. This is a strand that weaves throughout the thesis where I explore how this embodiment can be understood both theoretically and practically.
My supervisor is Professor Nickie Charles.
Work identities, horseracing and gender and Servicing the horseracing industry: apprenticeships past and present presented at the 6th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning,Roskilde University , Denmark, 2009.
Gender and processes of embodied learning in the horseracing industry presented at The XXIII European Society for Rural Sociology, at The University of Vaasa, Finland, 2009.
Sexual politics in the horseracing industry was presented at the Gender, Work and Organization, International Conference atKeeleUniversity , 2010.
Exaggerated femininity and tortured masculinity was co-presented with Professor Nickie Charles at The British Sociological Association, International Conference held at the LSE, April 2011.
Kinship across the species barrier was co-presented with Professor Nickie Charles at The Interpretive Policy Analysis, International Conference at Cardiff University, June 2011.
Kinship across the species barrier was co-presented with Professor Nickie Charles at Representing Animals in Britain Conference at University of Rennes, October 2011
Not just a Girly-Girl: masculinities, horseracing and gender presented at a one day conference on Masculinities at IAS, University of Warwick, Sept 2011
Not just a Girly-Girl: masculinities, horseracing and gender presented at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Minneapolis, November,2011