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In richly detailed studies of very different schools across India, Meenakshi Thapan and her colleagues build a common argument: Each school seeks in its own way to shape students into ‘citizens’ through discipline and ritual, but students counter by constructing their own peer cultures. This is an essential contribution to the ethnography of education—and the lively student voices make it a delight to read.
Agency, meaning, experience: these crucial concepts demarcate this exceptional, profoundly insightful text. Focused on student as well as school culture, on citizenship, justice, and morality, this comprehensive, incisive, ecumenical collection commands sustained attention from scholars in every speciality.
True to its title, this is an extremely interesting and comprehensive anthology of essays on schooling experiences which draws upon the heterogeneity that marks school life in India both in terms of the variety of schools that exist and the facets of school life, considered to be the key construals of the schooling experiences of students and that have a bearing on their construction of citizenship and identity.
The book is a wonderful introduction to understanding schooling and is the first such welcome initiative.
An attempt to get deep insight into the heterogeneity of the student culture. The editor has carefully selected the issues to cover a broad spectrum of schools and schooling in contemporary India...it can serve a good source of relevant information, for teachers and educators to improve the quality of teaching-learning process in schools.
A collection of ethnographic studies conducted on various schools in India… the book is an important contribution to the anthropological studies on schooling in India and, perhaps, one of the most definitive works on the subject.
The book aims towards an ‘understanding of the experience of education…(of) life at school, or what goes on within schools…through a focus on participants in the schooling process’… the book presents a sampling of short ethnographic studies from various schools…. [It is] a welcome addition to the field of ethnographic studies of schools in India. It will contribute especially to discussions around student culture and schooling and citizenship.
Meenakshi Thapan’s book entices the reader into a familiar…exciting and tumultuous world of schools, where, besides teachers and principals, students emerge as chief protagonists…Adopting a flesh and blood approach, the book traverses briefly through textbooks and pedagogic encounters in classrooms and largely through the relatively unexplored spaces of school assemblies, houses…and so on.
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