Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
John L. Jackson
This ethnography is an attempt to show the particular relationships between globalization, development, digitality, and urban-rural change as they are re-articulated in the actions and interactions between several groups – NGO personnel, teachers, students – living, working, and studying within educational spaces in South Karnataka, in regions in and around Bangalore city. My intervention, to put it simply, is to show how the condition of development in India, and specifically education-as-development, has changed in the contemporary global digital moment, and I identify the new concerns of each of these groups – how they sought to develop themselves and Others – in the wake of technologically-enabled globality and social reform-oriented connection. My own set of ethnographic stories begins at the heart of these education-as-development concerns, but relies on the specificity of my interactions with a single NGO, Adhyaapaka, based in Bangalore, but that worked with school communities outside of it. I have placed these NGO narratives in relation to another set of narratives from one school site in which Adhyaapaka works, Adavisandra school. What I discovered, inadvertently, was an alternative shape that global development takes when seen through the stories of teachers and students, equally tied to the idea of a changing India, but inflected with aspirations and commitments that reflected the unique lived experiences of those who were participating in schooling in the village. This is also to say that, at least in India, any global-digital future is always a “global-urban-rural future” and throughout this study I mark instances of urban-rural linkage and boundary, always as a means to understand how individuals perceive development-based change. To this end, I further the concept of value migrations, a set of mediated imaginings and aspirations that reflect the circulation of values and the concomitant changes wrought in villages. In unpacking the concept of “value” I foreground the inextricable link between global economic structures, human development, and village change. Further, I connect value to affect, showing how structures of economic power work on a psychosocial register, manifesting as dreams, hopes, desires, nostalgias, anxieties, and sufferings and together are what I term the “affects of development”.
Shankar, Arjun, "Development, Value, and Education in India's Digital Age" (2015). Publicly Accessible Penn Dissertations. 2000.