Learning Modernity? The Technology of Education in India

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History (CMC)

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This paper is an ethnographic interpretation of schools in a provincial North Indian city to highlight the working of the « technologies » of education, particularly of how buildings, spaces, and rituals work. The argument is that there is pain for the children at an everyday level from the working of these instances of technology. But there is even greater pain at the level of the whole life or career, in that the schools do not succeed in producing the modern citizen subject they claim to believe in. These provincial schools are certainly an instance of « modernity » but one that has to be interrogated. Indeed the schools themselves in their functioning question the pure models of which they are supposedly copies. But, the paper suggest, scholars need to problematize much further their critique of modernity by looking at the relative positions of children, educators, observers, and the nation state.

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