Cultural Politics, Neoliberal Markets, and the Privatization of the Urban “Other”
This chapter addresses the cultural politics of caste and class that perpetuates the marginalization of urban impoverished children despite policies to ensure universal and free education. It argues the ways in which widely accepted notions of the urban Other and neoliberal policies serve to normalize poverty and exploit India's most vulnerable populations. The chapter explores how school choice programs in the India's Right to Education (RTE) Act have led to the burgeoning of low-fee private, or LFP, schools that further exacerbate inequity of access and success rates for marginalized children. Exclusion based on caste, gender, and class is the single greatest barrier to universal elementary education in India. The cultural politics of caste are deeply embedded in Indian society and have played a key role in the exclusion and marginalization of impoverished urban youth.