Legitimising the unacceptable and accepting the illegitimate : Symbolic violence in the engineering profession in the UK
The aim of this paper is to contribute to an understanding of the experiences of people from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in the UK engineering profession by identifying the processes by which BME people are excluded and marginalised, but also the strategies that they employ to negotiate and navigate the pathways of the engineering labour market. There is a general acknowledgement among scholars of equality and diversity that, in spite of the paralysis of legislative instruments aimed at eradicating racism in the UK labour market, overt racism and discrimination are now rare in organisations. Yet processes by which BME people (and other minority groups) continue to be discriminated against and disadvantaged in organisations and the labour market have been documented and discussed time and time again and the hidden nature of some of these processes have been highlighted (Acker 2006; Healy et al 2010). Guided by a theoretical perspective based on Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence, the paper aims to understand the experiences of black people in the engineering profession, both in terms of the process of gaining entry to the profession as well as their experiences of working in it.