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Exclusion, Urbanity and Education : A Case Study of a Muslim Neighbourhood in Kolkata

Chatterjee, Anasua GND

Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork carried out in a ‘Muslim’ neighbourhood in Kolkata, the paper explores the implications of socio-spatial exclusion on educational options of Muslims in urban India. While general backwardness and spatial stigma often hinder their access to leading educational institutions, the reality of living in a communally defined space imposes further limitations on their educational choices. Misinformed government policy, centered on perceptions of a monolithic Muslim identity, further shrinks educational options available to them. Within the emerging neoliberal urban, however, education is perceived by many as the primary avenue for social mobility who increasingly organize their aspirations of ‘betterment’ around it. Using interwoven narratives the paper studies the changing urban and its consequences on a marginalized community’s access to education in the city.