Accepted Paper:

Emergent education in the homogenised world: the significance of integrating indigenous knowledge, cultural practices and skills towards future education in India  


Pallawi Sinha (University of Cambridge)

Paper short abstract:

This qualitative study adapts enthnomethodology towards listening to indigenous peoples' interests and priorities with regards to education through the innovative means of participatory, audio-visual and spatial tools, and to establish this marginalised voice towards its self-determination.

Paper long abstract:

The indigenous peoples constitute 8.2 % of India's population, over 84 million people but their history reveals a constant struggle for existence, their identity, and against oppression. Generally perceived similarities in their way of life and oppressed position has led to their constitutional categorisation as scheduled tribes or adivasis but this differs from area to area thus excluding several groups. A heterogeneous group with over 200 distinct peoples speaking more than 100 dialects, they vary greatly in ethnicity and culture. Thus India's postcolonial mechanisms, homogenisation of culturally-rich indigenous communities and knowledge, topical educational hegemony and dilemmas, and future citizenship contextualise my study with the indigenous Sabar community of Jharkhand. In particular, the study attempts to listen to indigenous interests, priorities, values and concepts with regards to education through innovative participatory, audio-visual and spatial tools designed to establish their voice. Thus this paper shall discuss critically the integration of indigenous practices and knowledge within India's postcolonial educational imperative; the intrinsic relationship between arts, environment and community; and the ethics, in practice. It deconstructs ethnomethodology to substantiate its methodological relevance, ascertaining the community's own path to self-determination and managing outsider-insider disparities. Furthermore, it identifies how such methods empower the marginalised by enabling multimodal expressions and access to data that other methods may not elicit. The paper concludes the urgency for development of sustainable educational systems authentic to India, which empowers future citizenship. It directs a third space in education to reflect future pedagogic action, of difference not domination, of localisation not assimilation.

Panel P108
Indigenous people and culture in India