Social Exclusion and Educational Institutions in Contemporary India
Meenakshi Thapan
UNIVERSITIES AT THE CROSSROADS by Andre Beteille Oxford University Press, 2011, 205 pp., 550
July 2011, volume 35, No 7

Andre Bteille is a prolific writer who has addressed questions of inequality, power, social class, the family, the disciplines of sociology and social anthro-pology, and a whole range of issues, too vast to enumerate here. The array of problems he has sought to understand and his commitment as a writer stem from his unfailing dedication to his profession as a sociologist, teacher and writer. His new book on the university is therefore a welcome addition to the existing corpus of his work as, apart from articles in different journals, he has not explicitly addressed the problematic of education in any single place. The book is a collection of convocation addresses and lectures that he has delivered on the broad theme of education, and the university in particular, at different fora in India. Bteille deftly plots the emergence of the university in India, the colonial overtones, the significant role of the middle classes, the overarching aims and the more specific goals of such universities as well as examines the outcome for different categories of individuals. His essays contain the right mix of history, policy perspectives, educational practice, and of course sociology. Shorn of unnecessary theorizing and jargon, they make refreshing and very interesting reading for both the scholar and the lay reader.

Continue reading this review