126 ——————————————————————————————-

American male sociologists were chosen for this exercise only because they had made their published autobiographical narratives available. American silverbacks are no different from their peers in other cultures. There are parallel findings from other advanced societies. The autobio­graphical essays by two major male figures in British sociology, Halsey (1985) and Willmott (1985) are similar, and the phenomenon is equally prevalent in continental Europe. In 1989 two Finnish social scientists Rahkonen and Roos and a leading Helsinki newspaper sent out a ques­tionnaire to 317 people who were from: ‘science and scholarship and the university, literature and the other areas of the arts, the mass media and administration’ (Eskola, 1992: 149).

The respondents were asked to name ‘the three most prominent Finnish intellectuals living today’ (Rahkonen and Roos, 1992: 114); 216 replies were received; 20 per cent of the people surveyed and 19 per cent of the respondents were women. The men voted only for men. Women voted for men and women. The results showed that: ‘A typical Finnish intellectual is a scholar in the humanities, a philosopher or a writer. He is a 50-70 years old man’ (ibid.: 115). That Finnish survey was modelled on an earlier French one undertaken by the review Lire in 1981 (Bourdieu, 1988; Rahkonen and Roos, 1992). Rahkonen and Roos com­ment on the structural similarities of the Finnish and French lists, includ­ing the absence of women. The French exercise of 1981 was repeated in

1987 by L’Evenement du jeudi but asking for five names (Rahkonen and Roos, 1992). That, too, showed that very few men consider their intel­lectual world to be co-educational.

Eskola (1992), dissatisfied with the newspaper survey method of Rahkonen and Roos, analysed 152 autobiographical pieces commis­sioned by two leading quality newspapers in Finland, which ran in seven series called ‘My School’, ‘My University’, ‘Science and Scholarship’, ‘Science and Scholarship 350’, ‘My Library’ and ‘Listening to a Book’/‘This is a Book I will read again’. Eskola’s analysis of the autobio­graphical pieces by men showed that men wrote of their fathers but not of their mothers, referred to males in their schooldays, to men at their universities, to male scholars and authors. ‘Only six per cent of references made by men concerned a woman’ (Eskola, 1992: 159). Eskola con­cludes: ‘For men it is interaction with other men that constitutes social capital, while women’s social capital is based on relations between the two genders’ (1992: 158). Britain, France and Finland clearly have sil – verbacks who do not, in general, feel any need to pretend to confess or repent of their sexism or even to comment upon it.

Scholar

Men

Women

Acker

12

9 127

Bernard

8

9

Daniels

25

20

Epstein

5

7

Fenstermaker

12

14

Glenn

4

13

Hacker

18

6

Hochschild

2

14

Holmstrom

16

34

Keller

11

Laslett

11

8

Long

4

8

Lopata

Mann

11

1

11

3

Reinharz

5

6

Roby

2

10

Rossi

6

2

Schwartz

10

6

Stacey

1

6

Thorne

25

18

Wallace

16

15

Wiseman

20

13

Table 7.3: Mentions of men and women by women sociologists

The American silverback narratives can be contrasted with a paral­lel corpus of women’s narratives. Taking the collections edited by Laslett and Thorne (1997), Orlans and Wallace (1994) and Goetting and Fenstermaker (1995) alongside the Berger (1990a), I took the essays by 23 women who were full professors in elite universities in the USA from the 46 in those four volumes. The women are shown in Table 2 in Appendix 2. The analysis of significant others is shown in Table 7.3, and of significant themes in Table 7.4.

Comparing Table 7.1 with Table 7.3, it is clear that women’s auto­biographical style is quite different from the men’s. Eleven women men­tion more females than males, only one woman mentions no females and most of them show the pattern outlined by Eskola. Table 7.4, when compared with Table 7.2, shows that fewer women than men mention Marxism (9 compared to 12), while many more (16 compared to 1) mention feminism.

Scholar

Marxism

Feminism

Acker

Yes

Yes

Bernard

Yes

Yes

128

Daniels

No

Yes

Epstein

No

Yes

Fenstermaker

Yes

Yes

Glenn

Yes

Yes

Hacker

Yes

Yes

Hochschuld

No

Yes

Holmstrom

No

Yes

Keller

No

No

Laslett

Yes

Yes

Long

No

Yes

Lopata

No

No

Mann

No

No

Reinharz

No

Yes

Roby

No

Yes

Rossi

No

Yes

Schwartz

No

No

Stacey

Yes

Yes

Thorne

Yes

Yes

Wallace

No

No

Wiseman

No

No

Table 7.4: Intellectual themes: Marxism and feminism by women sociologists