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Caste and Class in Higher Education Enrolments

The National Sample Survey 2014 data is used to explore the character of class inequality, over and beyond that of caste. The caste break-up of various social classes suggests that caste inequalities are greater amongst the more educated classes. Enrolments in higher education show greater social inequalities than in elementary education. The differences amongst various classes suggest that while caste is a strong factor in educational inequality, it is not a sufficient one. There is much less caste variation within the lower classes than the higher classes. Caste and class need to be seen as generative processes, and sub-jati networks are to be conceptualised and empirically examined to understand the actual roles of caste and class in educational and social inequality.

Social Movements and Educational Change

Political change can be a catalyst for the transformation of an educational system through the positioning of grass-roots social movements as an alternative to bureaucratic state mechanisms and non-governmental organisations in designing and implementing education reform. The case study of the Adivasi Munnetra Sangam, a social movement in Gudalur in Tamil Nadu, is used to illustrate how fundamental shifts in control of power within the system can result in greater inclusion of oppressed groups.

Modernity and Meritocracy

The vision of a meritocracy is integral to modernity, resting upon principles of achievement, individualism, and the primacy of academic knowledge. Each of these is now debated, particularly the claim of individual contributions to merit. Among the four responses that are possible, a multifactor approach to social inequality in selection, social interventions, and institutional, academic support may actually be truest to modernity’s promise of freedom and fairness.

Practice of Caste in Higher Education

Beyond Inclusion: The Practice of Equal Access in Indian Higher Education edited by Satish Deshpande and Usha Zacharias (New Delhi: Routledge), 2013; pp 356, Rs 415 (hardback).

Sociologising Merit

Merit is part of a discourse generated in a highly stratified society, which affirms society's faith in the possibility of social mobility. Merit legitimises the privileges and rewards obtained and sought after by the upwardly mobile. At the same time, it is also part of an assumption and acceptance of inequalities between people and thence of the unequal distribution of resources. As a myth of modern India, it has historically legitimised equality, while at the same time obstructing it. The sociology of education helps map the duality of this myth. It also grounds a rethinking of merit, for a fuller expression of freedom, equality and excellence in society.

Perspectives on Education

Perspectives on Education Education and Democracy in India edited by Anne Vaugier-Chatterjee; Manohar and Centre des Sciences Humaines, New Delhi, 2004; pp 269, Rs 695 (hardbound).

Old and New Dilemmas in Indian Civic Education

Civic education represents a space for learning about life in the public sphere, which though not stringently separated from the domestic and the personal, still involves several new relations and strategies. There also exist different cultural positions on how to behave in the public sphere. The challenge in rethinking Indian civic education is twofold: (a) how does one deal with the existence of different paradigms of public behaviour? (b) what are the basic principles of any particular paradigm and how can they be explicated and given a living meaning?

Education as Vision for Social Change

Elementary Education for the Poorest and Other Disadvantaged Groups: The Real Challenge of Universalisation by Jyotsna Jha and Dhir Jhingran; Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, 2002; pp 255+ tables, price not indicated.
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