ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Docile' Bodies, 'Good' Citizens or 'Agential' Subjects?

Pedagogy has a crucial role in constructions of the self and the "good" or the "ideal" citizen. Civic education in schools seeks to build up notions of the good citizen, by outlining "ideal" norms of behaviour, for instance, towards parents, elders, the government, as also the nation. But the human subject is not always a passive recipient of pedagogic formulations. Rather as this article that bases itself on student responses in a test school in Delhi, establishes, students negotiate established pedagogy and received wisdom in a variety of ways. Their understanding of issues of citizenship is arrived at not merely through textbook instruction, but their reception to the very manner of this instruction that is exam-oriented, in their interactions with friends, peers and family as well as information received and interpreted through a variety of other sources. The article argues that to move beyond mere subjecthood and towards ensuring an individual's "agency" in the creation of "good" citizenship, pedagogy has to engage and debate widely with these varied sites of interaction.

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