ERIC Number: ED338502
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Scientist Mothers and Their Daughters (2). An Inquiry into One Aspect of Socialization into Science.
Handel, Ruth D.
This paper explores possible intergenerational socialization into science on the part of mothers who are scientists in relation to their school-age daughters. Its aim is to describe ways in which mothers who are scientists foster or fail to foster orientation to science fields. The exploratory and naturalistic study is conducted in the "context of discovery" and intended to raise the issue of possible familial consequences of the growing participation of women in scientific fields. The research asks the questions: What difference does it make in terms of a child's orientation toward science to grow up in a home in which the mother is a scientist? How does the mother's profession structure knowledge dissemination in the family? How may it affect her socialization of her daughter and how does the daughter view the mother-as-scientist? An illustrative case study of interviews with a mother who is a research biologist in a large university and her 19-year-old daughter is reported and discussed. The complete data set is comprised of five sets of mother-daughter interviews and three pilot studies of mothers only. Findings from all the interviews are incorporated into the descriptive analysis in this paper. This study assumes that early experiences in the family of origin are influential in later parental functioning. Accordingly, the study describes home and school factors which facilitated the mothers' entry into science and compares them with the experiences that appear to be shaping their children's interests and activities. Also described are socialization factors such as parental expectations and encouragement, recognition of aptitude in the child, provision of appropriate experiences, monitoring of the child's activities, and role modeling and other aspects of anticipatory socialization. This study also adds interview data from the daughters reporting their perceptions of their mother's career, aspirations for their children, science activities in the home, and their own future plans. (KR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991). Supported by an award from Montclair State College.