Gendered dynamics in South African astrophysics: A case study of the South African Astronomical Observatory
This study explores the nuances around gendered dynamics, attitudes, ideologies, values and knowledge that exist within astronomy and astrophysics institutions paying specific attention to the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) as study site. This study investigated implicit and explicit ways in which SAAO spaces and practices are gendered and hierarchized, and the extent to which 'astronomy as a specific discipline within science' remains highly masculinized. By focusing on studies on power, feminist critiques of science and institutional culture in other South African sectors, especially higher education, the study deconstructs a field that has been relatively neglected in South African feminist studies of gendered institutional culture. This thesis makes use of feminist qualitative methodological approaches and fuses mixed methods to collect data. The use of participant observation enabled a broader understanding of the context and to gain an understanding of how gendered, classed and raced subjects construct and navigate social meanings in the hierarchized and symbolically marked space of the SAAO.