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Report of the ASA Task Force on First-Generation and Working-Class People in Sociology

American Sociological Association / September 2022

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In March 2017 the ASA Council established the Task Force on First Generation and Working Class Persons in Sociology and gave it a multi-part charge with the intent of better understanding and being able to respond to the needs of this important group. The charge included developing a working definition of “first-generation” and “working-class” drawing on existing literature, ASA tradition, and the task force’s substantive concerns. In addition, examine existing data and, if possible, collect additional data where gaps exist, to document:

  • The pipeline into the profession, specifically the proportion of graduate students who are first-generation/working-class
  • The representation of first-generation/working-class sociologists within each academic rank, and in various types of educational institutions (community colleges, 4-year colleges, state universities, elite private universities)
  • Appointments of first-generation/working-class sociologists in new positions as a share of all appointments, by rank of appointment
  • Representation of first-generation working-class sociologists as compared to their peers within the profession in terms of (a) salaries; (b) appointments to Department Chair and other administrative positions; (c) representation on ASA Council and on the ASA Publications Committee; (d) representation on editorial boards of ASA journals; and (e) FAD grant awardees.
  • The views of first-generation/working-class persons in sociology (at every level, from graduate student through full professor status) regarding issues or concerns related to their status within the profession.
  • Past and present efforts of other scholarly associations to address issues of underrepresentation of first-generation/working class scholars.

Based on this body of work, make recommendations to ASA Council as to how the Association can best address the challenge of integrating this population into the discipline in a way that maximizes equity.