LEC Seminar: 'Working class academic capital'

Tuesday 21 May 2019, 2:00pm to 3:00pm


Training Rooms 1 & 2, Gordon Manley Building, LEC Blue Zone (LEC 3), Lancaster University - View Map

Open to

Alumni, External Organisations, Postgraduates, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

What does the term 'working class academic' mean? If you come into academia from a 'working class background' what implications does it have for your career and personal ambitions? These are questions we need to consider as we engage with the Equality Diversity and Inclusion agenda.

The image of the “proper academic” remains a white, middle-aged and middle-class man (Skelton, 2004). Ongoing attempts to achieve gender and ethnic diversity in academia highlight the lack of equivalent focus on the class background of faculty members. However, grammar schools alongside widening participation policies have led to greater numbers of ‘working class academics’. There are difficulties with this term, for instance reliable statistics on the class origins of academics are unavailable. Also, the descriptor ‘working class academic’ can be perceived as being contradictory i.e how can you be an academic, and still be working class? (Wakeling, 2010). Much of the existing literature on the academic success of this cohort suggests that alienation, imposter syndrome and micro-aggressions are common experiences (See Warnock, 2016 for an overview). While Haney’s (2015) research depicts the process of mobility into white collar professions such as academia, as traumatic. Yet my current research with 66 working class academics from the UK describes working class academics as a heterogeneous group with diverse experiences of academia. It also illuminates their additional forms of knowledge and experience i.e aspirational, social/familial, linguistic, navigational and resistance capital. This paper from Dr Tessa Crew, Lecturer in Social Policy at Bangor University ends with how ‘we’ can move forward.

All students, staff and colleagues are encouraged to attend.Join the conversation #LECSeminar!



Dr Teresa Crew Bangor University

Contact Details

Name Craig Jones