Societal perceptions of the white working-class male and factors that contribute to their academic success

Masters Thesis

Anslow, D. 2020. Societal perceptions of the white working-class male and factors that contribute to their academic success. Masters Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher Education
AuthorsAnslow, D.
TypeMasters Thesis
Qualification nameMA by Research

The lack of educational attainment amongst WWCM in England has long been a concern of politicians and educationalists. Considerable academic research exists surrounding this educational phenomenon however, much of this research focuses on how societal barriers and class relationships within schooling contribute to WWCM academic failure. Whilst current research provides us with historical innate working-class attitudes and positions reproduced throughout generations, it does not consider WWCM who are academically successful or any nuances or motivations that may be ‘difference makers’. In contrast, this research focuses on a small group of WWCM from diverse regions of the U.K who have navigated the minefield of education, obtaining both undergraduate and in some cases post-graduate qualifications before pursuing professional careers in education. Narrative research was used to obtain rich, lived data from WWCM who have ‘beaten the odds’. Findings from this quantitative research suggest that an early mindset of linking work ethic to economic reward is an important reproductive factor in the academic progress of white working-class boys. A strong familial working ‘working-class’ ethic was experienced by all participants interviewed for this study. The findings suggested a strong understanding of work ethic accompanied by positive role models and a more holistic development will aid the educational progress of this subsection of society. Nonetheless, whilst conducting my research it became impossible to ignore the cultural divide confronting the United Kingdom. We are currently witnessing a social transformation in British society. A rise in immigration, identity politics and a negative media portrayal has contributed to a sense of ‘white neglect’ felt by WWCM. Therefore, it can be reasoned that alongside confronting historical barriers to educational attainment, WWCM must now contend with the negative perceptions and ridicule foisted upon them by the middle-classes, Government and to a greater extent the media.

KeywordsSocietal perceptions; White working-class; Academic success; Factors
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Deposited04 Apr 2022
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