It not only focuses on official rules and interviews with academic staff but lays emphasis in collecting data from observing classroom discussions and carrying out conversations with students outside of the classroom.
It is by adopting this methodological approach that this book is able to provide a holistic picture uncovering the negotiation processes of the students and the academic staff.
What are the various messages conveyed by principals, teachers, and educational officials through the institutional setup of Indian schools?
How are these values, principles and rules perceived, modified and subverted by students?
Detailed depictions of informal peer relations show a wide variety of reactions, from submission to the schools’ declared values – e.g.
equality, frugality or spirituality – to refusal to abide by them.
Similarly, at a private school in rural Andhra Pradesh, students resist living in the school’s “bubble” created by the school’s rejection of “urban” values of consumerism regarding food, clothes, and entertainment.
They challenge the school’s ideal of frugality and the urban/rural divide it underpins by favouring and sharing “urban” products.
The book’s eight contributions address how students experience their schooling, and how they construct the imposed disciplining rules and hierarchies prevailing within their schools.
Intense fieldwork enabled the authors to examine student culture by observing daily schooling processes, while informal discussions gave them access into the pupils’ mindsets regarding the construction of their school worlds.