In progress: Social class and body image among South Asian women

The lead investigator on this project is IncLab member Ranjana Srinivasan, working alongside a second team member, Kavitha Rao, and a former team member, Kayla Lauricello. The study will use consensual qualitative research to analyze the narratives of Indian women as they discuss body image in the context of their cultural and class-related experiences.

In press: Classist microaggressions and higher education

In this qualitative study, we set out to see whether a microaggressions framework could be applied to the experiences of graduate students from poor and working-class backgrounds. The results indicated that classist microaggressions were reported by these students, who described hearing members of their communities described as lazy or dangerous, and feeling left out because they could not afford to participate in social and academic activities that their peers and professors took for granted. As a result, they often felt pressured to conceal their social class backgrounds as they scrambled to survive financially, find loans, manage jobs, and send money home. Our participants asked that institutions of higher education show more awareness of the presence of low-income students on campus, and they wished for clearer guidance in navigating financial constraints. They asked for social class issues to be included within campus diversity initiatives, and they requested that college communities “walk their talk” by showing appreciation and respect for working-class staff members.

Smith, L.., Mao, S., & Deshpande, A. (in press). “Talking across worlds”: Classist microaggressions and higher education. Journal of Poverty

2013: Learning from therapists working in the context of poverty

In this qualitative inquiry, our participants -- who were all therapists practicing in poor communities -- told us about the challenging (and rewarding) nature of their work and the inadequacies of their training to meet these demands. They also described the damaging, multifaceted impact of classism within their clients’ lives and upon their own occupational status.

Smith, L., Li, V. , Dykema, S., Hamlet, D., & Shellman, A. (2013).  “Honoring somebody that society doesn’t honor”: therapists working in the context of poverty. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69, 138-51.

2010: The experiential pathways of White antiracist activists

What can the experiences of White antiracist activists teach us about social justice training, practice, action, and advocacy? For this consensual qualitative research study, we interviewed 18 White antiracist activists who described activities ranging from organizational leadership to speaking out in everyday situations. Participants explained the developmental pathways that had led to their antiracist stance, and shared a complex structural conceptualization of race and racism. They considered their antiracist activities to be rewarding and meaningful despite the interpersonal conflict that had accompanied them.

Smith, L. &  Redington, R. M. (2010b). Lessons from the experiences of White antiracist activists.         Professional Psychology: Research and Practice,  41, 541–549.