The Quest for 'Success': Young Pakeha Women in a Neoliberal Economy

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dc.contributor.advisor Molloy, M en
dc.contributor.advisor Herda, P en Bentley, Alysha en 2017-02-09T20:28:30Z en 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract Based on a series of interviews and focus groups with sixteen participants, this thesis explores the lived experience of young, middle class, Pakeha women in New Zealand in terms of their notions of ‘success’ and how this has influenced their life choices. Employing a theoretical framework informed primarily by the feminist work of Anita Harris (2004, 2010) and Angela McRobbie (2007, 2009), it examines the participants’ decision to gain a university education and to pursue a professional career in the context of the neoliberal and postfeminist discourses of ‘success’ that circulated in New Zealand during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The emphasis the participants placed on education and career is explored in terms of the sense of positive self-worth they gain from their work, and the perceived need to develop oneself personally and professionally to successfully navigate the competitive labour market. It is argued that the participants have internalized these discourses to a large extent and perceive themselves as responsible for developing strategies to successfully balance all that is expected of them as ‘modern’ women, without necessarily having the resources they require to do so. In addition, the sense of pressure to succeed is heightened and exacerbated through their use of social networking sites, where they are inclined to engage in upward social comparison to determine their level of success relative to that of their peers. This research seeks to make a New Zealand contribution to the feminist argument that these discourses, which espouse unlimited ‘opportunities’ and ‘choices’ for young women, in fact obscure gendered inequality and the lack of structural support women need to take full advantage of these prospects. These discourses therefore minimize the challenges young women face in attempting to meet these imposed standards of ‘success’, and mask the fact that, in absorbing the risk inherent in the new economy, they have assumed responsibility for their own – and the economy’s – ongoing success. As such, young women are not the ‘untroubled beneficiaries’ of a post-modern, neoliberal society they are so often hailed to be, but rather the subjects of new regulatory forces in the contemporary neoliberal West. Key words: career; education; neoliberal economy; neoliberalism; New Zealand womanhood, Pakeha women, postfeminism; social media, success; successful women, young women en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264894401002091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
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dc.title The Quest for 'Success': Young Pakeha Women in a Neoliberal Economy en
dc.type Thesis en Anthropology en The University of Auckland en Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 612136 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-02-10 en

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