Title page for ETD etd-03232010-132628

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pearce, Jessica Simpson
URN etd-03232010-132628
Title The Feminization of Private Investigation: A Sociological Analysis
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Bankston, William B. Committee Chair
Blanchard, Troy C. Committee Member
Lee, Matthew R. Committee Member
Shihadeh, Edward S Committee Member
Mathews, Robert C. Dean's Representative
  • role dilemmas
  • master status
  • gender homophily
  • race
  • social control
Date of Defense 2010-02-03
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation outlines the occupation of private investigation and the role that females play within that profession. The difficulties women experience in male-oriented occupations remains noteworthy in sociological research today. Progress has been made, yet many barriers still exist for women. These include structural, social, and cultural factors that influence women and/or the jobs that they hold. With the completion of interviews with twenty-six female private investigators, I was able to analyze the existing structural, interactional, and gender barriers which moderate the number of women that work as private investigators. Few studies have examined this occupation and this gap may be detrimental to our understanding of this issue. I discovered that women have less difficulty getting into and succeeding in private investigation than in law enforcement. Finally, I found that based on the nature of the work, client demand, opportunity for self-employment, and limited training requirements, females have risen in the labor queue that feeds private investigation. I argue that females may be more desirable to employers and clients because of the advantages their gender provides. Exploration of this topic holds importance for a comprehensive understanding of the position of women in the occupational structure.
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