The uses of equality in an elite school in India: enterprise and merit

Arathi Sriprakash*, Jing Qi, Michael Singh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the different uses of equality in one elite international school in India. We focus on how conceptions of equality can be enrolled into particular scripts of benevolence and gifting through which elite distinctions are constituted and enacted. Our analysis of interviews with students, teachers and parents in the school highlights three dominant and interrelated uses of equality that are examined with respect to entrepreneurial social ideals in contemporary neoliberal India: equality for profit; equality as deferred; and equality as a differential inclusion of the poor. We call this concept ‘enterprise equality’ and consider its performative effects, namely in reconstituting and justifying normative inequality. Enterprise equality does two related things which have significant global consequences: it can function as a process of ‘decontestation’–a way to ‘block hearing’ about alternative political/economic arrangements of equality; and it can reaffirm the cultural rhetoric of the elite as meritorious in their privilege.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1036
Number of pages15
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology of Education
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2017


  • community service
  • elite schooling
  • entrepreneurialism
  • Equality
  • global citizenship
  • privatisation


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