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Rethinking the educated unemployed in India

Authored by: Craig Jeffrey , Jane Dyson

The Routledge Handbook of Education in India

Print publication date:  September  2021
Online publication date:  September  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367466770
eBook ISBN: 9781003030362
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter reflects upon the social and political actions of educated unemployed youth in India, building on 20 years of ethnographic research. There is a very large number of jobless young people in provincial north India, many of whom have become accustomed to disappointment. We challenge received wisdom about their activities, pointing, for example, to the role they play in circulating critiques of dominant power relations and connecting people to the state. Much of young people’s social and political work occurs outside of formal institutional contexts, such as government institutions or NGOs, and we examine the nature and form of this ‘everyday civil society.’ The chapter draws on many years of ethnographic field research carried out by the two authors in Meerut town in western Uttar Pradesh, and Bemni, a village located at 10,000 feet in a relatively remote part of rural Uttarakhand.

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