Education is for marginalized people in agrarian Telangana, India, the means to getting ahead, at the same time that structural conditions have diminished its potential. This article considers the consequences of education's failures for parents' positioning within a society that is purported to be "moving forward." I draw upon Berlant (2011) and Ahmed (2010) as a starting point to explore the possibility that the idea of progress through education is critical to one's sense of self, anchoring the self to conventional hopes and desires as a way to survive present-day uncertainties. Variations in the narratives of villagers complicate any straightforward analysis, however. Hope is precarious when faced with the improbability of the next generation escaping hardship, coexisting with relative resignation and a lack of agency. It is the almost impossibility of getting ahead through education that establishes its theoretical possibility and hence the obligation to pursue normative aspirations. Through close attention to the texture of hope in agrarian Telangana, I aim to reveal unintended consequences of the continued emphasis on education as a development goal.
|Journal||Ethos: The Journal of the Society for Psychological Anthropology|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|