Poortwachters van de wetenschap


  • Marieke van den Brink


I discuss the gatekeeping process in the recruitment for professorial positions. In a closed recruitment system, which is getting more common in the Netherlands, it is crucial to be invited to apply directly, or have connections with people in the network of scouts. Scouts have a gatekeeping position as they control the information flow and access to the vacant positions; they determine which candidates are nominated. My central question is how gender is practiced in the gatekeeping process. I draw upon feminist constructivism and organizational network theory to show how gatekeepers influence the persistence or (re)production of gender inequality in academia. Three gendered practices are distinguished, two of which occur in ‘regular’ appointment procedures which lead to disadvantages for women applicants by men mobilizing masculinities in homophilous networks. In the third process, gatekeepers explicitly search for women to appoint on a chair in the framework of special women’s programs or affirmative action. Gatekeeping processes can therefore be exclusionary, as well as facilitate opportunities.