Judge K (2021) Finding Dignity. 2nd International Online Working Class Academics Conference, Online, 13.07.2021-14.07.2021. https://workingclass-academics.co.uk/abstracts-2021/
Like the song made famous by the Scottish band, Deacon Blue, this presentation will discuss the search for dignity within academia for the working class. While the lyrics describe the process of hard work, graft, frugality, and sacrifice, the empowering message of the song is about autonomy, freedom, and movement. In navigating the mundane and the extraordinary, it is this song about the dream of self-belief that provides a relatable backdrop for the tempestuous experiences of ‘being’ and ‘doing’ in academia. To provide context, I served an apprenticeship and worked in the motor trade for over 13 years before pursuing academic qualifications. I registered onto an access course at a post ‘92 university and graduated with an honours degree that resulted in an invitation to become a teaching fellow. As an emerging sociologist, this biographical account will explore some of the barriers and limitations encountered in the dream of social mobility and self development. By sharing real life experiences, the story of working class academics can be demonstrated as the alternative lifeworld necessary within the increasingly complex system of academia. The concepts of Habermas will be used to illustrate how personal stocks of knowledge from working class experiences are invaluable for negotiating academic terrain and crafting validity. By participating in this conference, I want to contribute to the discussion of navigating the challenges and share my dream of dignity.