Social Construction of the Value of Education among the Disadvantaged Group: A Case Study of the Mahashas of Jammu and Kashmir State of India
AbstractThe present paper extends the ongoing debate on the social construction of the value of education among poor in South Asia. The prime objective of this study is to explore the meanings and value of education that man and women of Mahashas attach to ‘being educated’. To explore the research questions this study relies on qualitative methods by using narratives as a method of an enquiry. The theoretical framework of the study based on two broad aspects that is social constructionism and Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital. Fieldwork reveals that Mahashas are having faith in education and its benefits, despite the fact that majority of the poor population of India is losing faith in education due to high cost and low and uncertain results. However, the level of their aspirations and motivations is not found to be strong. It is also observed that there are noticeable gender differences in the perceptions and meanings of education. The Mahasha women believe that formal education during present times may not be of much benefit in terms of secure jobs but it is the only source for experiencing social mobility in life especially for the people belonging to the lowest rung. For them formal education is the only mean to have ‘cultural and social distinction’. However, men give more importance to employment and wages in terms of ‘market experiences’ believing that spending on education is just a waste of money and time.
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