GSE Publications


Ritty LukoseFollow

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

November 2005


Globalization is often indexed by the rise of a consumerist ethos and the expansion of the market economy at the expense of state-centric formulations of politics and citizenship. This article explores the politics and practices of gendered democratic citizenship in an educational setting when that setting is newly reconfigured as a commodity under neoliberal privatization efforts. This entails an attention to discourses of consumption as they intersect postcolonial cultural-ideological political fields. Focusing on the contemporary trajectory among politicized male college students of a historically important masculinist "political public" in Kerala, India, the article tracks an explicit discourse of "politics" (rashtriyam). This enables an exploration of a struggle over the meaning of democratic citizenship that opposes a political public rooted in a tradition of anticolonial struggle and postcolonial nationalist politics to that of a "civic public," rooted in ideas about the freedom to consume through the logic of privatization.


Reprinted in Cultural Anthropology, Volume 20, Issue 4, pages 506-533. Copyright 2005 by the Regents of the University of California/American Anthropological Association. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California/on behalf of the American Anthropological Association for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on AnthroSource ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,


politics, consumption, education, neoliberalism, India



Date Posted: 03 April 2007

This document has been peer reviewed.