Realities, Risks, and Responsibilities: A Critical Narrative Inquiry and Autoethnographic Exploration of Biculturality Among Black Professional Women

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Trudi Kincaid Adams-Wiggan (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Kelly Clark-Keefe

Abstract: Ten Black women academics employed in universities and professional institutions in the southeastern United States and the autoethnographic researcher participated in a qualitative study of personal appearance biculturality among Black professional women in the academy. Critical race theory (CRT), critical race feminism, and autoethnography formed the theoretical framework for the study. This research sought to answer the following questions: How have Black professional women described their experiences with shifting their personal appearance at work? What are the ways in which personal appearance shifting has manifested? What have been the physical, emotional, and professional effects of personal appearance shifting on these Black women? CRT’s composite counter-story permitted research participants to voice their own realities with this phenomenon, and autoethnography enabled the researcher to disclose her experiences as a full participant. Findings revealed three major organizing themes for this study: Attitudes toward shifting, forms of shifting, and costs of shifting. Participants had two principal attitudes toward shifting their personal appearance: choices and responsibilities. Choices centered on personal taste and convenience. Responsibilities involved professionalism, role modeling, and preservation of cultural practices. Their biculturality took two forms: variable and stable. The effects of shifting were either negative or positive. Implications of the study and suggestions for future research are presented.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Adams-Wiggan, T. (2010). Realities, Risks, and Responsibilities: A Critical Narrative Inquiry and Autoethnographic Exploration of Biculturality Among Black Professional Women. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Biculturality, shifting, Black Women, professional women, identity, personal appearance