The Social Worlds of Higher Education: Welfare Hostels as Pedagogic Sites

Suresh Babu, Savitha (2020) The Social Worlds of Higher Education: Welfare Hostels as Pedagogic Sites. Doctoral thesis, NIAS.

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Thesis advisorTukdeo,
Abstract: This thesis foregrounds the ways in which socially marginalised young women encounter higher education. Centring social welfare hostels as sites within India’s higher educational setup, the thesis accounts for socialities, educational pathways, and negotiations with caste, that mark student lives. The thesis is situated within the broader contexts of Indian higher education, which has seen numerous transformations over the last few decades. As institutional access expanded, colleges and universities transitioned towards more diverse places of learning, work and habitation. Reserved seats in educational admissions and employment along with a wide range of assistance became part of the measures taken up by the Indian state to enable this diversification. Pre-matric and post-matric hostels have, for generations, been the spaces where students from marginalised communities could receive education. The thesis set out to understand higher education from the place of social welfare hostels, designed to expand access and enhance equity. Qualitative in its methodological orientation, my research examines two sites in depth, documenting the everyday in hostels of Bengaluru and Kalaburgi. As they enrol in college courses and secure admission in the social welfare hostels, the experience of higher education for the women students I closely interacted with often included resource scarcity, stigma, and hurt. Self-discipline, friendship and sociality become the elements to rely on in responding to institutional practices. From overt discrimination to subtle ways in which their life histories are devalued within higher educational institutions, the social worlds of higher education are difficult to traverse. The thesis unpacks how women residing in state-run social welfare hostels navigate this difficult terrain, paying attention to the ways that state policies interact with established caste-gender hierarchies. Going beyond exclusively institutional understanding, the broad premise of my thesis is to look at hostel as integral to educational experiences. My analysis shows how re-framing vocabulary from the state’s benevolent terms to that of assertion, care and rights was an important aspect of educational journeys for many students. Courses geared towards quick employment and anxieties of “paying back” were recurring elements of higher educational experience for the women residing in hostels. Laying out structural constraints within the lives of women students, the thesis demonstrates how within their specific circumstances, the students work towards building a sense of self and collective worth.
Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted to Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal [Year of Award: 2020] [Thesis No. TH53]
Keywords: Higher Education, Welfare Hostels, social welfare hostels, Karnataka
Subjects: School of Social Sciences > Education
Doctoral Programme > Theses
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2021 17:50
Last Modified: 08 Jul 2021 10:19
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