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“She will control my son”: Navigating womanhood, English and social mobility in India

Highet, Katy; (2022) “She will control my son”: Navigating womanhood, English and social mobility in India. Journal of Sociolinguistics 10.1111/josl.12567. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Through its colonial, class- and caste-based history, English in India has come to be seen as a powerful resource that opens doors for those who ‘have’ it and holds back those who do not. For women, English ostensibly offers various promises in addition to employment: progressiveness and ‘empowerment’; and the potential for upward mobility through marriage. Yet, the conversion of English capital for English-speaking Indian women proves to be intensely complex in practice, as many find themselves forced to navigate between shifting moral regimes attached to ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in an NGO in Delhi that offers free English training to ‘disadvantaged youth’, this paper explores how English capital is managed by young women striving to attain middle classness through English, and how their class, caste and gender positionings are negotiated across particular time-space configurations as they seek to become English speakers.

Type: Article
Title: “She will control my son”: Navigating womanhood, English and social mobility in India
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/josl.12567
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12567
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Sociolinguistics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: English, ethnography, India, social mobility, womanhood
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10148134
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