Date

2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

Sociology

First Adviser

Johnson, Heather B.

Other advisers/committee members

Lasker, Judith; Ceron-Anaya, Hugo

Abstract

This research project investigated the experiences of working-class professionals at a community college to discover whether a working-class background could be an asset in academia. Scholarly literature mainly portrayed the difficulty professors encountered due to their working-class identity. The results of a survey of 984 faculty and staff members, including adjuncts, and four in-depth interviews yielded a multiplicity of viewpoints on how social class manifests on campus. Interpreted through Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, cultural capital, and field, the study revealed that strong working-class and first generation characteristics of the professional staff influenced institutional culture and academic practices. The evidence suggested community college provides working-class professionals a welcome academic home. Community college staff disrupted the status quo of social reproduction by ascending into the middle class and by becoming allies with students to do the same. Enhancement of the study might include additional interviews or a survey at a second college.

Included in

Sociology Commons

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