Legitimization of Surveillance and Discipline in Schools in Kolkata: A Study of Students’ Lived Experiences of Discursive Practice

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Ishani DEB, University of Calcutta, Calcutta , West Bengal , India
Schools as an institution have utilized surveillance in numerous ways: through televised monitoring of the students, by creating students' profile in the website that amount to creating students' database and through gender normative behaviour. Deeply pronounced cultural values and language define such apparently gender neutral disciplinary mechanism (Gregory and Fergus,2017; Monahan,2011). The analysis on subjugation and subordination has been contributed by the feminists and by the theorists of power (Lukes,1974/2005). The research contributions regarding this issue have been multifaceted. Feminists like Nancy Fraser (2013) and Paula England (1999) have invoked the philosophy of knowledge on the politics of representation and body construction. Also several works have been towards the pedagogy of teaching, etching out of how the hierarchy between the students and the school management has been maintained (Chanana,2002). Finally the conventional utilization is that of Foucauldian notion of surveillance. The underlying implication is that CCTVs are not the only determining factor in body control and surveillance. Different schools respond with varied experiences. Uniform strictures of students based on gender, obsession with IDs and compulsory prayer service of the students monitored by the principal are also the factors of discipline. Meenakshi Thapan (2014) pointed out, it is required to decode the classroom experiences in the words of the students themselves and that the scholars move beyond the scope of analyzing the macro structures of discipline and surveillance. This paper therefore presents the narratives of the students of both the gender segregated schools as well as of the Coeducational institutions (schools) in Kolkata. The respondents are both male and female students of the ninth and tenth grade from the middle and from the upper middle class background. The paper also talks of how the students understand these discursive practices and comply with the rules without fail.