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From Zomia to cosmopolitanism

Jones, Mark

Description

A census of all schools in the semi-remote Indian Himalayan hill town of Almora finds that over the last 20 years, the number of private English-medium schools has increased substantially. The majority of schools in the town are now private English-medium schools. Qualitative analysis shows that parents are motivated to send their children to such schools not merely because attendance will enhance their children's English language skills, but because they offer the quality of education, early...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorJones, Mark
dc.date.accessioned2019-02-18T23:45:26Z
dc.date.available2019-02-18T23:45:26Z
dc.date.copyright2014
dc.identifier.otherb3568384
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/156366
dc.description.abstractA census of all schools in the semi-remote Indian Himalayan hill town of Almora finds that over the last 20 years, the number of private English-medium schools has increased substantially. The majority of schools in the town are now private English-medium schools. Qualitative analysis shows that parents are motivated to send their children to such schools not merely because attendance will enhance their children's English language skills, but because they offer the quality of education, early childhood classes, modern curriculum and accessibility that parents believe their children need for future success in a rapidly modernising and globalising world. Seen from perspectives of the dominant activist discourses of the 19th and 20th century, the growth of private English-medium schools is understood as an example of linguistic imperialism and as a threat to the autonomy of the Indian national education system and its links to the Indian community's cultural imperatives. However, in the 21st century, where globalisation is on the rise and the nation-state is losing its centrality to the production of social, economic, political, cultural and technological conditions, the dominant discourses seem outmoded and deny the people of Almora the agency and autonomy to make choices for their children. It is essential then to move beyond nation-centric discourses and use the emergent discourse of the recent era to understand phenomena such as the growth of English-medium schools seen in Almora. Almora was once on the far western border of Willem van Schendel's Zomia, a land that exists purely as a heuristic device. The 'imagined world' of its people was limited by the friction of the terrain to a local space politically, economically and culturally distant and distinct from India's heartland, the adjacent North Indian plains. The Kumaoni people's language, literacy and educational patterns were an adaptation to the limits and imperatives of that local space. British occupation of the region in 1815 meant that 'imagined world' of the people of Almora slowly began expand out into the Indian heartland and eventually the Indian nation-state. To take advantage of this expanded 'imagined world', the town's people adapted their language, literacy and educational patterns to incorporate the modes of that nation-state. In the 21st century, the 'imagined world' of the people of Almora is no longer limited to the Indian nation-state. Mediated by the new communications technologies and entangled in the emergent globalised liberal economic spaces, their 'imagined world' has expanded out into Appadurai's new denationalised geographies of ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes, financescapes and ideoscapes. The Indian nation-state and its borders, although far from irrelevant, have lost their centrality to the people of Almora in this new second phase of modernity. The recent growth in private English-medium schools seen in Almora is an agentive adaptation to the challenges and opportunities of this new 'imagined world'. The people of Almora have made a journey from Zomia to cosmopolitanism.
dc.format.extentx, 74 leaves.
dc.subject.lcshSchools India
dc.subject.lcshEducation HistoryIndia
dc.subject.lcshEducation, Bilingual India
dc.subject.lcshEnglish language Study and teaching Foreign speakers
dc.subject.lcshCosmopolitanism India.
dc.titleFrom Zomia to cosmopolitanism
dc.typeThesis (MPhil)
local.contributor.supervisorLal, Brij V
local.description.notesThesis (M.Phil.)--Australian National University, 2014.
dc.date.issued2014
local.contributor.affiliationAustralian National University. School of Culture, History & Language
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d514b42ce5f1
dc.date.updated2019-01-10T09:15:06Z
local.mintdoimint
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

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