Paharis' Schooling: A Postmodern Lens

By Khadka, Anju | Contributions to Nepalese Studies, January 2009 | Go to article overview
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Paharis' Schooling: A Postmodern Lens


Khadka, Anju, Contributions to Nepalese Studies


Introduction

This paper analyses the Paharis schooling with post-modern approach and discusses the ways that transform the existing education system. The postmodern lens embraces fluid and multiple perspectives while analyzing the field information/data. Besides, it refuses the definite 'truth claim' over another (Gilley 2002). Similarly, it is in itself a dialogical word with various positive and negative connotations and a current historical, social and cultural epoch (Allen 2007: 181). Though the analysis and discussion of this paper show the multiple interpretation, the scope of this paper is limited to (a) examining the relationship of the established theory with field (b) drawing the perceptual and theoretical interpretation of Pahari's schooling and (c) exploring the multiple identities of Paharis.

The qualitative information that I got through empirical study helped me to argue that only the knowledge of the center is not sufficient for social justice to the students, though school structure is made by the relationship between the center and decenter. I further argue that the amicable relationship between the center and decenter of school structure is the best way for ensuring service delivery to the students. For this, I found that school and its teachers could learn the delivery technique from the students' social cosmos. On the contrary, the school structure that works through center knowledge merely presents a hierarchical education to the Students. This means school automatically makes the institution oppressive (Freire 1983). It also ignores, represses, or marginalizes the non-centered multi-knowledges (Derrida), which comes from students' side (Powell 2003). In addition to it, I used functional, critical and dual structural theories to examine Pahari's schooling. This helped me understand how school structure can be redesigned for ensured educational justice to the students and the society.

Theoretical Perspective

In course of looking the theoretical relevancies, I used Derridean standpoints to understand the Paharis' schooling or their worldview about school.

Derridean theory examines the interrelationships between center and decenter part of social structure. This is main principle of deconstruction theory (Powell, 2003). Furthermore, this theory analyzes social subjectivity and the worldview associated with the socio-cultural world and the outside in a given social structure. Such analysis and discussion do have closer affinity with the theory of cognitive anthropology as well. Cognitive anthropology focuses on people's own conceptual models of the world that is created from the field. In other words, it concentrates on the emic perspective on communities' actions/decision-making processes. This emic analysis emphasizes on digging out epistemological and operational things of the cultural idealism that is shared by social groups (Harris 1968: 569). Harris further said that emic study helps to know the culture or language as an order whole (1968: 571). Here, the perspective of emic reminded me the aim of anthropology as viewed by Milton (1997) who says anthropology is not simply to describe human cultures but to explain why they are as they are (Uprety 2007: 184). My paper explores the rationale of the shaping schooling or the worldview of the Paharis about school, the way they constructed through education process. For understanding the worldview of Paharis' formal schooling, I related it to the Derridean theoretical standpoints. In other words, my paper explores the rationale of seeking the re-socialization (reflection) and/or de-socialization (rethinking or re confirming process) process of the Paharis.

In the context of using the Derridean theoretical perspective, I examined the field based on only three terms of Derridean theoretical perspective that Derrida used. They are (a) Deconstruction, (b) Difference and Differance, and (c) Interpretation.

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