Can educational policy redress historical discrimination? Exploring a University Community’s experiences with India’s caste-based affirmative action policy


This research engaged a grounded theory process to explore whether or not and, if so, in what ways, an affirmative action quota policy disrupted historical power structures towards generating change in one university community in rural India. This rural university community has implemented an affirmative action quota system for three decades. Participants’ embrace of and resistance to diversity and caste-based social transformations were identified through an analysis of in-depth interviews with 6 Upper caste faculty and staff, 3 Dalit students, and 7 and Upper caste students. Strategies of embracing and resisting diversity and broader pushes for social transformation to create a more inclusive community included participants positioning themselves in favor of or opposed to the affirmative action quota policy. Implications for change at individual, community, institutional, and national levels are discussed.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v3i2p38

Keywords: educational policy, caste inequality, university community


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