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Thames Estuary Academic

Jo Finch (University of Suffolk, UK)

The Lives of Working Class Academics

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

Publication date: 12 December 2022


In this chapter, I reflect on the impact my Estuary English accent has had on me, both personally and professionally as a former social worker, now social work academic, and the impact it appears to have on others. From parental chastisement for dropping my ‘T’s, attributions of being ‘Cockney’ and ‘Essex’, with associated assumptions made about my educational background, class and indeed my very moral character. My accent appears at times, to disrupt some peoples' presuppositions – about who or what I am. I discuss some of the linguistic features of my accent and some ‘critical accent incidents’. I reflect on the challenges of managing academia as someone with an accent that I argue, is underpinned by gendered and classist assumptions. I argue why a critical focus on accentism remains important, generally and within social work education. The chapter utilises theory from a wide range of disciplines, including cultural theory, linguistics, education studies and autoethnography.



Finch, J. (2022), "Thames Estuary Academic", Reilly, I.B. (Ed.) The Lives of Working Class Academics, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 187-202.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Jo Finch. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited