Democracy in Higher Education

Social scientists are well aware of the trappings of social diversity and the politics that emanates from such diversity, which can take the form of stubborn historical inequality and also explicit forms of discrimination. Many of them spend their careers thinking and writing about discrimination and inequality, but academia itself is a field where this politics of diversity plays out. In Indian social science education, there are entrenched norms as a result of which women, Dalit, tribal and minority students can be systematically underprivileged. This session is not about exposing this politics in higher education, neither is it to lament on the lack of democracy, rather, this session seeks to think through the ways in which democracy can be fostered in higher education. What kind of supportive institutions and practices can be created to offset the prevalent undemocratic norms?

Hyderabad is a centre of many educational institutions and there is a large student population in the city. Higher education in social science is also an option that many individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds are increasingly accessing. In this light, a discussion about democracy in higher education is of utmost importance.