Working Class and Compounding Disadvantage Conference

A conference for anyone who wants to be informed on issues related to class and disadvantage.

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Key Information:

Date and time
Wed 08 November 2023
13:00 - 16:30
Online: Zoom
Craig Johnston
Booking required


This event has now passed.


People with a working-class heritage can face deeply entrenched normative and attitudinal barriers in and through education. Yet, they remain a comparatively overlooked social group in academic studies, even with those employing intersectional analyses of inequality. This has left empirical and theoretical gaps in our understanding of how race, gender, and disability (and other social differences) intersect with class in shaping outcomes and perpetuating cumulative disadvantage. This inspired us to address such gaps – from an intersectional perspective – within this virtual conference.

Intersectionality has become a buzzword both in academia and in popular culture. This should not lessen its importance as a mechanism revealing the multiple and layered aspects of social stratification. Intersectionality shows us how overlapping systems of oppression structure social interactions across organisations and institutions. When socially constructed statuses interact, they can contribute to the accumulation of disadvantage where certain groups continually experience the worst outcomes and the greatest levels of disadvantage. Viewing unequal educational outcomes through an intersectional lens, for example, can highlight how working-class people with multiple social differences experience various forms of compounded disadvantages evident in, for example, their much lower employment rates and earnings.

With a special focus on “intersectionality”, the conference aims to feature a concise range of the latest research on the impact of class on the pathways and transitions of working-class people. Thus, a key objective of this one-day virtual conference is to widen our (critical) lens upon the effects of intersecting statuses and social class.

The conference brings together working-class academics, practitioners, and researchers from across a range of educational and public sector settings. It is open to people who are interested in themes of health and social care, sociology, criminology, law, the physical sciences, psychology, community development, public health. We welcome anyone with lived experience of conference theme and anyone who wants to get more informed on issues related to class and compounded disadvantage. We aim for contributions that can cover a theme, including class but not limited to age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

Call for abstracts

  • Research papers
  • Format: 15-minute presentations
  • Abstract: 250 words

To discuss the implications of intersectionality and class, we invite contributions that, focus, among others, on:

  • intersectionality and class as a relational concept vis-à-vis race, gender, disability culture, ethnic origin, etc.
  • intersectionality through self-narratives that connect the structural with one’s sense of being (e.g. through agency, motivations, identity)
  • intersectionality as a process of exclusion
  • the form/manifestation, circumstances, and consequences of intersectionality for those from a working-class heritage
  • intersectionality and its implications for the multiple identities of working-class groups and individuals.

The abstract submission deadline is Monday 2 October (Midnight). Please send your abstract to Craig Johnston at

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Craig Johnston at


  • Avatar image for performer
    Darren McGarvey
    BAFTA Winner and Author of Poverty Safari Poverty Safari



Welcome and housekeeping – Dr Craig Johnston


Introduction (Alliance of Working-Class Academics) – Prof. Geraldine Van Bueren KC


Keynote – Darren McGarvey: Class and Poverty


Individual Papers and Provocations


Discussion – reflections on the day



Registration and tickets

  • Cost: Free
  • Attendance: Booking required

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