Structural Exclusion in Everyday Institutional Life

Geetha B. Nambissan and S. Srinivasa Rao

in Sociology of Education in India

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780198082866
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199082254 | DOI:
Structural Exclusion in Everyday Institutional Life

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This chapter examines how institutions becomes sites for structural discrimination and labelling by describing the reasons for the failure of students from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in one Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) during 2005–2006. The causes of academic failure were put down to their lack of social ‘adjustment,’ and did not include the deep roots of the process that characterizes a student from a socially stigmatized group as ‘not capable of success’ and as ‘destined to fail’. Using Erving Goffman’s theoretical ideas on ‘stigma’, the author analyses interviews undertaken with students from stigmatized groups and explains how stigma-based structural categorizations and labelling emerge, play out, and affect a student's academic achievement as well as social adjustment. The author also explains how institutions practise unwritten rules that distinctly identify individuals and groups who are labelled as disadvantaged by their structural location and status. Eventually, the cornerstone of the whole educational and social system encloses the underprivileged classes in the roles which society has already given them, which is only a result of their inferior social status. The author concludes by pointing out that policies and practices that identify, recognize, and label students within academic (pedagogical) and non-academic (non-pedagogical) contexts of the institution are detrimental to the success of SC/ST students.

Keywords: institutionalized exclusion; Indian Institute of Technology; structural categorizations; caste labelling; tribe labelling; student labelling; stigma; social adjustment; academic failure; student self-exclusion; stigmatized students

Chapter.  10775 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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