The Reflective Experience of Working-Class Graduate Students: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Study
AuthorMarquard, David William
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This dissertation is a hermeneutic phenomenological study that reflects on and interprets the lived experiences of working-class graduate students in English composition studies. In order to understand and explore this experience, this dissertation draws from three bodies of research: 1) written narratives and telephone conversations conducted by and with five self-identified working class graduate students; 2) written narratives and telephone conversations conducted by and with two tenured professors; 3) and published narratives written by established self-identified working-class professors. By exploring and interpreting the three bodies of data, on both a hermeneutic and phenomenological level, two themes were revealed: 1) the dominant theme: experiencing impressions and feelings of separation and differences between the working-class and the middle to upper-class; and 2) the subdominant theme: experiencing anger and frustration toward these socio-economic class differences as well as toward financial insecurities. Based on these interpretive results, this dissertation offers suggestions for creating a more unified community at the graduate level, extends scholarship related to pedagogy directed toward teaching working-class students, and adds to the body of research related to the discourse of graduate school.