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Self-Made Men: Widening Participation, Selfhood and First-in-Family Males (Theorizing Social Mobility and the First-in-Family Experience)

Stahl / Palgrave MacMillan / July 2022

Self-made Men Book Cover

The focus of this chapter is the role of social class in social mobility. It draws on conceptual work—specifically in regard to pathologization and shame—to highlight that attending university is an affective experience for working-class young men that carries an impetus to change the self. To be first-in-family involves various identity negotiations; it also necessitates the performance of new forms of selfhood. Masculinities are far from cohesive, and a focus of the chapter is how the identities of first-in-family males are ‘destabilized’ during the transition to university and what this may mean for how they craft new identities. The chapter concludes by recounting the main components of self-crafting, which is a conceptual framework used to explore the findings in subsequent chapters.