Exploring Dalit participation in learning and the transformative potential of self reflective inquiry

Shaheen, K. (2007) Exploring Dalit participation in learning and the transformative potential of self reflective inquiry. Ph.D. thesis, University of Kent.


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In this thesis I explore barriers to, and opportunities for, the participation in learning (and emancipation) of a profoundly subjugated segment of Indian Society referred to as Dalits. Accounting for approximately 16 per cent of the Indian population (according to the 2001 Census), Dalits have been excluded from education and wider society on the basis of their inferior position in the hierarchical division of society known as the Caste System.

A raft of statistics indicate the extent of this exclusion and the disproportionate representation of Dalit children in those who have never been enrolled in school, drop out before completin primary education, or are illiterate. However this thesis is not about numbers and I examine the relevant themes from a different perspective.

Drawing on evidence and insights garnered by employing a variety of research techniques (literature review, fieldwork in India, autobiographical episodes and self-reflective inquiry) I examine opportunities for Dalit participation in learning (not just formal schooling) that will stimulate this subjugated people to critically reflect upon the circumstances of their oppression and take action to challenge it. This thesis is, in part, an exploration of the contours of a liberating education.

At the heart of this thesis lies an examination of the transformative potential of self-reflective inquiry. I argue that, if conducted sufficiently rigorously, the process of critical self-reflection can lead to a profound transformation in human consciousness and a radical shift in the relationship between Self and Other. I suggest that this insight is pivotal if we are to deepen our understanding of the barriers to, and opportunities for, Dalit emancipation and participation in learning.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC0065 Social aspects of education > LC0189 Educational sociology > LC0212 Discrimination in education
Depositing User: Mr Andrew Hudson
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2013 12:24
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016 13:55
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/12119

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00