Journal article

Rethinking education as a contradictory resource: Girls' education in the Indian Himalayas

Jane Dyson



Scholars are increasingly emphasizing the contradictory nature of schooling's social effects, often blending Sen's (2000) insights on education's empowering role with critical sociological work on schooling and inequality (e.g. Majumdar and Mooij, 2011; Morarji, 2014). This paper advances this literature through examining shifts in girls’ education in Bemni, Uttarakhand, India. The paper draws on two periods of ethnographic research – in 2003–2004 and between 2012 and 2017 – as a means of tracking long-term changes in the nature of the contradictions that young women experience. In the 1990s and early 2000s there was a marked increase in girls’ primary schooling in this village and Uttarakha..

View full abstract


Awarded by Economic and Social Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

The research on which this article is based was funded by a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council (2012-2015, ES/J011444/1) and an NERC/ESRC Studentship (2001-2005). I remain indebted to the people of Bemni for their ongoing help and support. I am extremely grateful to two anonymous reviewers and to Craig Jeffrey for their helpful comments.