The university is a highly politicized and fractious realm for students and academic staff. Amidst trade-offs between the processes of massification, democratization, commodification and globalisation, the question of transformation for sustainability has become crucial to the social goods in higher education. This paper considers academic citizenry within Indian public higher education, a context where the increase in enrollment of first-generation students and female students, due to affirmative action policies, has not substantially altered the composition of academic staff. Informed by a mixed methods study conducted in 2019 with the participation of academics and leadership of four higher education institutions, we found that the enactment of such policies have been utilized for the production of the ‘New Middle Class’ by universities. Of concern is that neither the representation nor participation of academics who are women, lower castes or minorities meets the mark of just, inclusive institutions. Despite rhetoric of inclusiveness and development, the implementation of these policies cloth subalterns with the veneer of the intellectual class, permitting access on condition that sociocultural identities are concealed, and the status quo maintained. Terms such as ‘quality’ and ‘equality’ function as tools for social control rather than social justice where, assertions of caste identity and resistance are simultaneously repudiated and misrecognised.
|Publication status||Submitted - 06 Jul 2021|
- higher education
- Women Studies