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Navigating the Relational Character of Social Class for Capitalism in the Academy

Alpesh Maisuria (UWE Bristol, UK)

The Lives of Working Class Academics

ISBN: 978-1-80117-058-1, eISBN: 978-1-80117-057-4

Publication date: 12 December 2022

Abstract

This chapter is a Marxist Critical Realist inspired discussion of my interest in, and experiences of, being a working-class academic from Indian/African heritage. I begin my autoethnography by problematising the limits of defining social class from a gradational approach, which is the most common way to make sense of social class in academia and beyond. I argue that neoliberal capitalism organises people into workers and owners of production and without this acknowledgement, discussion of social class in the gradational approach is limited. I then go on to critique the de-centering of social class, for which I used Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a case study. My intention is to promote the explanatory power of approaching social class as as an organisational relationship, which assimilates racism, in the service of capitalism. Throughout the chapter, I provide examples of the way that I navigate this intellectual standpoint in the classroom, specifically through utilising the concepts of mystification and feasibility that I developed through my PhD that focussed on social class in Sweden. Without dismissing the value of the gradational approach of understanding social class in toto, and also the importance of personal identities (indeed I have focussed on my ethno-racial identity), my basic argument is that without the centralisation of social class, and crucially its articulation with neoliberal capitalism, social class becomes a descriptive category rather than explanatory, rendering the possibility of radical social change as severely diminished.

Keywords

Citation

Maisuria, A. (2022), "Navigating the Relational Character of Social Class for Capitalism in the Academy", Reilly, I.B. (Ed.) The Lives of Working Class Academics, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80117-057-420221001

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Alpesh Maisuria. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited