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White, Brown, mad, fat, male and female academics: a duoethnography challenging our experiences of deficit identities

Joanna Fox (School of Education and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK)
Jas Sangha (School of Education and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford, UK)

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Article publication date: 15 December 2022

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Abstract

Purpose

The authors are two social work academics working in a UK Higher Education Institute. Social work is underpinned by principles of anti-oppressive practice which leads to challenge discrimination and stigmatisation. The authors explored experiences of deficit imposed by others' perceptions of the physical and ethnic appearance and mental health status. The authors consider how these features influence how the authors locate themselves within the wider contexts of academic spaces in higher education institutions (HEI).

Design/methodology/approach

Using duoethnography, a collaborative research methodology, the authors recorded reflections on their experiences for five months and met weekly to discuss their material. This process enabled them to engage in dialogic narrative through collaborative writing using both structured and unstructured reflections. The authors analysed the reflections using thematic data analysis.

Findings

Four themes were generated that led to understanding how the authors could challenge oppression. The oppression became visible as the authors reflected on the common experiences of deficit. The understanding of other's oppression as well as the authors’ own became clearer as the unconscious experiences became conscious. The authors began to locate the experiences of being both privileged and oppressed in the wider social context of the HE. Finally, the authors recognised how the “deficit” identities could transform into strengths.

Originality/value

This personal journey of two academics reflecting on how they are paradoxically both privileged and yet oppressed challenges other professionals to honestly explore how they themselves can occupy both roles and become allies in confronting discrimination in all its forms.

Keywords

Citation

Fox, J. and Sangha, J. (2022), "White, Brown, mad, fat, male and female academics: a duoethnography challenging our experiences of deficit identities", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JOE-07-2022-0024

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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