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Sociology of Education in IndiaChanging Contours and Emerging Concerns$
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Geetha B. Nambissan and Srinivasa Rao

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780198082866

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198082866.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

Gender, Childhood, and Work in the Nation

Gender, Childhood, and Work in the Nation

Voices and Encounters in an Indian School

(p.157) 7 Gender, Childhood, and Work in the Nation
Sociology of Education in India

Geetha B. Nambissan

S. Srinivasa Rao

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the connections between gender, childhood, and work, using ethnographic data from a primary school (with students from nearby slums) in the city of Baroda in Gujarat, India. It examines the influence of the subjective social experiences of students and teachers in the development of official knowledge about work roles, citizenship, and the nation state. The author presents an analysis of classroom interactions which revealed an overwhelmingly stereotyped response of the children (and teachers) who believe that a strong nation is one in which women and men consensually perform their ‘natural’ productive roles in the economy, and who strengthen their capabilities through hard work. Implicit to this understanding was a certain hierarchization of work, based on gender, class, and caste; as well as emphasis on success in education as a precursor to achieving success in the ‘right’ occupations. The author points out that care should be taken that class lessons/interactions should not delimit (by class and caste hierarchies and gender stereotypes) the range of occupations available to learners. To deny the emancipatory promise of education to poor children in a stratified society is to also deny the possibility of individual children possessing agency to struggle against social barriers to ‘achieve success’ through education.

Keywords:   gender roles, work and gender, work stereotypes, delimiting options, childhood and work, primary school learning, education and emancipation, Baroda, work and citizenship, classroom interactions

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