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A Bridge over Troubled Borders: Social Class and the Interplay between Work and Life

Evans, Samantha, Wyatt, Madeleine (2022) A Bridge over Troubled Borders: Social Class and the Interplay between Work and Life. Work, Employment & Society, 37 (1). pp. 137-156. ISSN 0950-0170. E-ISSN 1469-8722. (doi:10.1177/09500170211041304) (KAR id:95234)


Drawing on border theory, this article presents a study of the role that social class plays in the interplay between work and non-work life. A survey was used to collect subjective ratings of social class for class origin, home and work domains. Interviews were then conducted with 20 individuals to explore participants’ experiences of social class across their work-life domains. The analysis identified five groups of individuals who experienced different work-life outcomes depending on their self-perceived social class and any experiences of social class travel. The study found that socially mobile interviewees had more complex work-life experiences and found work-life interplay more challenging than those whose social class was congruent across domains, challenging the assumption that social mobility is inherently beneficial. The article proposes that social class acts as a bridge, which either facilitates or impedes the ease with which individuals move between their work-life domains.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/09500170211041304
Uncontrolled keywords: border theory, boundaries, bridges, class travel, domains, social class, social mobility, work-life balance, work-life conflict
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: University of Kent (
Depositing User: Samantha Evans
Date Deposited: 31 May 2022 10:24 UTC
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2023 14:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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