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Manufacturing Ideal Citizens in South Asia

  • Russell 306, Teachers College
  • 5/8/2014, 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

"Increase the Policeman Quotient in You": Student Police Cadet Project and the Making of Student-Citizens for a Democratic India


Mary Ann Chacko, will discuss a proposed study that will explicate aspects of the socio-political context that has engendered the Student Police Cadet (SPC) project, a citizenship training program implemented in public schools across the state of Kerala, India, in order to inquire into the politics of educating for democracy. "Good governance" is increasingly regarded both as an essential mechanism for sustainable development as well as a parameter for assessing development. The emphasis on participatory democracy as a vital characteristic of good governance has led to the acceleration of processes of decentralization in the developing world, including India.  The model of "democratic decentralization" adopted by the Indian state of Kerala is hailed as exemplary not only within India but also on an international scale. One of the explicit aims of Kerala's decentralization "experiment" is the creation of a "new civic culture" in a state that is plagued by radical politics, increasing presence of Hindu and Muslim right-wing forces and terror outfits, oppression of and resistance from subaltern sections like Dalits and Adivasis, and the marginalization of women in the public sphere. This churning within Kerala society has given a fresh impetus to citizenship training in schools both as a socio-political issue but also as part of national security. Hailed at the national-level as a model of "education for peace", SPC is one dimension of the community policing strategies adopted by Kerala police to transform a colonial style of policing to a decentralized and democratic one.  For her  dissertation she proposes to conduct a multi-sited ethnography of this cadet program to examine it as a governmental strategy for the manufacturing of citizenship.

Producing neoliberal citizens: critical reflections on human rights education in Pakistan

Shenila Khoja-Moolji,  will present her research that challenges the celebratory uptake of human rights education (HRE) in postcolonial contexts by making visible the ideological and political entanglements of the discourse with neoliberal assumptions of citizenship. She draws evidence from, and critically reflects on, a specific HRE programme -Women Leaders of Tomorrow (WLT) that she implemented along with a colleague in Pakistan. Using narrative inquiry methodology, she examine the kinds of citizens imagined in and through its curriculum, and the norms of leadership and community promoted by it, to argue that the programme can be interpreted as a technology of neoliberalism in that it was productive of neoliberal rationalities. Individuals, however, are not simply objects of knowledges; they co-opt, resist, negotiate, and compromise. She, thus, disturbs her own linear reading of the unfolding of WLT by reflecting on moments of resistances where participants not only interrogated its assumptions but also engaged in self-stylisations that produced new mutations of HRE. This unfolding of a globalist discourse in a local setting directs the presenter to call for a re-conceptualisation of HRE in postcolonial contexts that is multiple, contingent, and fluid.

HREC is a TC and NYU, student-organized colloquium that explores the synergy between human rights and education. HREC provides a unique opportunity to present your research in a friendly environment prior to big conferences, practice your cool and challenge your findings when answering questions (and of course we always have coffee with snacks!).Sessions alternate between the TC and NYU campuses.

HREC is co-sponsored by the Working Group on Peace, Conflict and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and the International Education Department at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

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