Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Dominguez, Virginia R

Second Advisor

Khandelwal, Meena R

First Committee Member

Graham, Laura R

Second Committee Member

Chibnik, Michael

Third Committee Member

LaDousa, Chaise

Fourth Committee Member

Lutgendorf, Philip


This dissertation examines the ideological connections between schooling, mobility, and social difference among students in New Delhi. In it, I argue that educational mobility, especially with regard to English-language education, is an ideology which seems to offer a path to reduce social difference while in fact protecting it. I also argue that people who desire mobility engage in discursive practices which attempt to emphasize how their social positions are better than the ones they aspire to, a process I call discursive mobility. These discourses are inherently conflicted and contradictory, something I argue is characteristic of discursive responses to ideologies of educational mobility. Thus, I inquire into how different ideologies and discourses (dominant and subordinate) relating to social difference, education, and mobility interact, the prominent role of English in ideologies of education and mobility, and how the process of attempting mobility produces inherently contradictory ways of being.

This research was conducted in two government schools and one private school in New Delhi, using a number of methods including participant observation, surveys, interviews, group discussions, and matched guise technique. I describe the discursive contradictions that come from attempts at discursive mobility, how language is implicated in ideologies of educational mobility, how social ideologies of privilege affect schooling experiences and mobility possibilities, how students discursively respond to social difference, and how the discursive worlds of students in government and private schools differ.


class, education, English, India, mobility, youth


xiv, 301 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 279-301).


Copyright 2010 Lavanya Murali Proctor

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