Does social class still matter? For some time now post-modern theorists have argued that class is dead because people do not perceive of themselves or their societies in like terms. In contrast, the traditionalists say that class still matters: it affects people’s life chances and how they see the world. These debates have only intensified with the recent global financial crisis, and as a result this academic argument has now permeated mainstream discussion. Capital in the Twenty-first Century, a book that revisits Marxist theory, has become a New York Times Bestseller; while in 2011 the BBC conducted the largest ever survey on social class in the UK. My PhD research will enter the debate on class by using survey data from over 30 countries to examine (a) class identities following the global economic crisis in 2008; (b) trends in perceptions of class divisions from 1987 to 2009; and (c) the effects of other aspects of stratification on these perceptions
What aspect of your graduate program do you enjoy the most or are looking forward to with the greatest curiosity?
While the PhD program in the Department of Sociology is rigorous, the knowledge acquired through coursework has provided me with the skills necessary to carry out quality research.
What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?
The exciting student life and the plethora of on-campus amenities.
Why did you decide to study at UBC?
Having grown up in Vancouver and having had family members attend UBC, I was well aware of the quality and prestige of the institution. However, it wasn't until I had met with and engaged in scholarly debates with faculty members within and outside of the Department of Sociology, that I truly become aware of the passion, innovation, and intellectual capacity of individuals at UBC.
What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?
There are three aspects which attracted me to the PhD program in the Department of Sociology at UBC. First, the quality of the faculty members. One need only look at the numerous publications in highly prestigious journals as testament to this. Second, the caliber of current graduate students enrolled in both the MA and PhD programs. Both these aspects generate a stimulating and productive academic environment with which to carry out study. Third, the financial support offered to incoming graduate students by the Department means that students can focus on their studies and research.
What do you see as your biggest challenge(s) in your future career?
Securing a tenure track position at a prestigious university.
How do you feel your program is preparing you for those challenges?
Receiving a PhD from a highly ranked university such as UBC will put me in good stead when it comes time to seek employment in Canada and abroad.
What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?
Taking two years off in between my BA and MA has enabled me to gain work experience in a related field which in turn has benefited me throughout my graduate studies.
What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?
Run, cycle, read, computer gaming.
What advice do you have for new graduate students?
Take time out of your studies to engage in hobbies outside of academia. While having a strong work ethic is a must in order to succeed in graduate school, I find that setting aside a good chunk of time for leisure activities improves my ability to focus and produce quality work.