This article proposes an anthropology of affirmative action that is embedded in analysis of the wider political economic transformations in which affirmative action policies emerge. It is argued that this historically situated approach enables analyses of the relative effects of affirmative action on processes of socio economic marginalization. The focus of the article is on the combination of preferential treatment policies and the provision of education as a state-led response to historical marginalization. These policies are explored in the context of adivasis (tribal or indigenous peoples) in Jharkhand, India. The analysis shows how, despite improvement in absolute educational outcomes among adivasis as a result of these policies, inequalities in relative outcomes are being reproduced and are widening. This is explained in part by market-led gains within the private edu cation sector for more advantaged sections of society that outweigh the predom inately state-led improvements for adivasis. The analysis demonstrates the limitations of contemporary affirmative action in affecting the relative position of socioeconomically marginalized groups in contexts where the state is losing some of its universal features and ambition.
Secondary education, indigenous people, and the state in Jharkhand, India
Rob Higham and Alpa Shah
In the United States, the expression “affirmative action” generally refers to a wide array of measures set up at the end of the 1960s by executive agencies and the federal judiciary. These measures grant some (more or less flexible) kind of preferential treatment in the allocation of scarce resources—jobs, university admissions and government contracts—to the members of groups formerly targeted for legal discrimination (African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, sometimes Asians).1 In France, by contrast, the main operational criterion for identifying the beneficiaries of affirmative action policies (in French, “discrimination positive”) is not race or gender,2 but geographical location: residents of a socioeconomically disadvantaged area will indirectly benefit from the additional input of financial resources allocated by state agencies to that area as a whole.
This article explores conflicting approaches to British citizenship through claims to universalism and difference respectively. It focuses on displaced Chagos islanders in the U.K. to show how an evidently unique case was confronted by the universalizing policies of the U.K. government. First, most displaced Chagos islanders and their second-generation descendants have been awarded U.K. citizenship, but three key limitations - concerning discrimination against 'illegitimacy', one's date of departure from Chagos, and restrictions on the transmission of nationality to subsequent generations - exclude other people who are also considered to be members of the extended Chagossian community. Second, those Chagossians who decide to migrate to the U.K. face significant hurdles in their attempts to establish habitual residence and integrate into the welfare system. The article reveals how Chagossian pleas for preferential treatment - in recognition of their particular history of forced displacement, dispossession and suffering in exile - have been thwarted by the U.K. government's purported commitment to the equal rights of all British citizens.
A Note from the Editor and the Publisher
just as relevant to our remit and scope as before, and will continue to undergo the same thorough peer-review process that has long been established for our selection process. No preferential treatment or scheduling will be given to anyone for whom open
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