Production of ‘Educated’ Middle Class

By: Smriti Singh  

Post economic liberalisation in the 1990s, India has witnessed expansion of employment opportunities for highly skilled and educated individuals in urban centres. This had led to rapid urbanisation as well. The expanding non-state service sector has in particular attracted skilled educated labour force to newly emerging metropolitan cities, triggering production of unique urban spatial phenomena of cities within cities. In a similar vein, the break-neck pace of urbanisation combined with mushrooming of gated enclaves flag a critical sociological problem that must be studied. It becomes imperative to study the social forces unfolding and shaping the new urban spaces in Indian context. It is also important to study the nature of the migrant middle class in new urban context, inductively against popular discourse about ‘new’ middle class and ‘global’ middle class. The paper deals with this particular migrant middle class that is actively seeking to claim educational and spatial distinction, in Gurugram. It highlights the historical-contextual forces that emerge from rapid urbanisation and sudden mass migration. The paper discusses the contestations and competing claims over the physical and social space of the city and how it produces a sense of distinction among the migrating middle class. This is a distinction that is claimed against those that the migrant middle class identifies as similar in terms of material basis of class. The paper situates the emergence of distinction in Bourdieusian ideas about distinction and social class.

City, Education, Middle Class
Identity and Belonging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Smriti Singh

Independent researcher, India