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Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky

Education, Language, and Social Class in Contemporary India

Chaise LaDousa
Foreword by Krishna Kumar

236 pages, 16 illus., 2 tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-232-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (January 2014)

ISBN  978-1-78533-211-1 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (April 2016)

eISBN 978-1-78238-233-1 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit  Buy the eBook! $34.95info on epub formatRequest a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“[This book] is a much needed study of the situation in the field at root level… [it] allows the reader to grasp complexity of the language question that applies to the entire country by the author’s focus on the complexity in one of India’s urban centers.” · New Books Asia

“…an important addition to the sociology of education, as well as to linguistic anthropologists’ understanding of language politics and institutionality in postcolonial settings. It importantly bridges the gap between our understandings of language ideology and institutional organization as they come to register in and as the changing political economy of north India. It will be of interest to scholars of multilingualism, education, language ideology, and youth culture.” · Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

“…this is a very enlightening study with a sound mixture of fieldwork and theory.” · Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics

“The rigor of this work lies in the painstaking quality of ethnographic detail, and its worth is in the issues it raises, such as the Three Language Formula, which would make occupational mobility across the country viable, but falls on deaf ears in the Hindi belt.” · Asian Anthropology

“This book conveys a highly nuanced and sophisticated analysis of the relationships among language, language ideology, schooling, and globalization in India… The author draws creatively on fieldwork experiences that stretch across considerable time and space.” · Peter Demerath, University of Minnesota

“This book provides an excellent discussion of education, language, and social class in contemporary India... Informed by research in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, and applied linguistics, it attempts to unravel the sociolinguistic complexity of language and class in India by examining the realities and ideologies surrounding one of the most profound divisions in Indian social life today: English-medium vs. Hindi-medium education.  [It] will make a significant contribution to diverse disciplines engaged in the study of language and society… The writing, both engaging and accessible, is sure to capture the attention of students and scholars across academic levels.” · Kira Hall, University of Colorado, Boulder


A sea change has occurred in the Indian economy in the last three decades, spurring the desire to learn English. Most scholars and media venues have focused on English exclusively for its ties to processes of globalization and the rise of new employment opportunities.  The pursuit of class mobility, however, involves Hindi as much as English in the vast Hindi-Belt of northern India.  Schools are institutions on which class mobility depends, and they are divided by Hindi and English in the rubric of “medium,” the primary language of pedagogy. This book demonstrates that the school division allows for different visions of what it means to belong to the nation and what is central and peripheral in the nation. It also shows how the language-medium division reverberates unevenly and unequally through the nation, and that schools illustrate the tensions brought on by economic liberalization and middle-class status.

Chaise LaDousa is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York.  His publications include House Signs and Collegiate Fun: Sex, Race, and Faith in a College Town (Indiana University Press, 2011) and articles in a number of peer-reviewed journals such as American Ethnologist, Journal of American Folklore, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Journal of Pragmatics, and Language in Society.

Subject: Educational StudiesAnthropology (General)
Area: Asia


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I would like to recommend Hindi Is Our Ground, English Is Our Sky Education, Language, and Social Class in Contemporary India for the library. Please include it in your next purchasing review with my strong recommendation. The RRP is: $135.00

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