“Sensitive Fences”: The im/mobility of working-class academics

Academic Mobility

ISBN: 978-1-78350-853-2, eISBN: 978-1-78350-854-9

ISSN: 1479-3628

Publication date: 10 July 2014


Prior studies of academics’ career migration patterns typically focused on middle- and upper-class faculty. The “push/pull” or “hard/soft” factors relevant to faculty from more privileged groups emerged from those analyses. This phenomenological study used qualitative interviews with 12 faculty members from lower social-class backgrounds to discover variables unique to this group. Due to lifelong differences in basic resources and limited access to educational opportunities, as well as adherence to class-based values, faculty from lower social-class backgrounds made career decisions based primarily on financial and family needs rather than the variables found in earlier studies. In order to paint a complete picture of factors that enter into the career-decision-making process, studies examining the mobility of academics must consider inclusion of faculty from lower social-class origins.


Kastberg, S. (2014), "“Sensitive Fences”: The im/mobility of working-class academics", Academic Mobility (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 11), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 219-242. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-362820140000011018

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