Privatization, ‘Knowledge Workers' and Growing Inequalities in Globalizing India

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 4C G (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Rajesh MISRA, University of Lucknow, India
Globalizing India is marked by two interlinked processes of socioeconomic transformation, privatization and liberalization. The swift rise of ‘knowledge workers’ in India is indicative of the nature of social change in the aftermath of globalization, privatization of education particularly the privatization of higher education. An empirical study of higher education teachers in an urban setting reveals increasing income inequalities, the concomitant status inconsistency and power disparities, leading to the growth of utterly unequal ‘closures’ within a profession. It has been argued that the rise of internal stratification within a profession provides a critical challenge to an idealistic model of inclusive professionalism. The findings can further be explained in terms of feminization and proletarianization of professions. The commercial interests of the educational organizations, the unprofessional orientations of owners, the precarious contractual conditions of work are taken rather suitable for women, as also are responsible for knowledge professionals to plunge into the proletarian status – economically, socially and politically. An assessment of data and studies reveals that different levels of education sectors are marked by disparities and exploitation within which the two sections of the educational professionals in India, the privileged and the deprived, have been intensifying with serious implications for the existence of ‘knowledge workers’ as a profession and also for the quality of education. The emphasis of the paper is also on the understanding of the dimensions of exclusivity within a profession in terms of the interface of global versus local structural conditions and the nature and types of socioeconomic organization of the education system in India. The heuristic efficacy of the present work may be in extending the ‘sociologic’ of professionalization in different sectors of socioeconomic life, which is not only conditioned by a matrix of globalization, privatization and liberalization but also by a historically specific socio-demographic location.