Beyond deaths in school: education, knowledge production, and the Adivasi experience

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Qualitative Research Journal (2018)



Contemporary India, Education policy, Knowledge production, Marginalized communities, ndigenous education, Politics of education, Subaltern


Purpose – Submergence, dislocation, rehabilitation and reform are the terms that crowd out most discussions on Adivasi/indigenous communities. They also fit in aptly with the Adivasi experiences of education and their relationship with knowledge construction, for them but not necessarily with them. Over the course of the last century, the Adivasi story has been composed and reoriented by a confluence of hegemonic regimes, institutions and epistemic traditions. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – Tracing the shifts over last few decades and paying attention to the larger politics of indigeneity, schooling and knowledge production, this paper advances a critical reading of the relationship between the marginalised and formal systems of schooling. Findings – Employing Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s (1989) “Can the Subaltern Speak?”, the paper identifies the discourses that have contributed to the construction of Adivasi communities and their relationship with the Indian state. Originality/value – As schooling continues to occupy a significant place among the communities in India and it gets associated with a number of contradictory logics, the present paper highlights the historicity of the project by which marginalised communities have been defined and their schooling needs have been framed and justified