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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Caste, Social Exclusion, and Opportunities for Education in Rural Punjab
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Although caste-based social stratification and unequal access to
educational opportunities coexist in several parts of South Asia, their
interconnection remains underexplored in the context of Pakistan. This
paper presents the key findings of qualitative case studies of three villages
in central, southern, and northern Punjab.
Data based on interviews with a sample of 105 high- and low-caste
parents of school-going children, school heads, and key informants reveal
that caste-based social exclusion refracts into limited educational
opportunities for low-caste children, especially if the household remains
trapped in intergenerational poverty and is spatially excluded and
stigmatized. On the other hand, these children’s access to education
improves with greater socioeconomic openings or wider cross-caste
bridging social capital rather than only intra-caste bonding social capital.
The paper uses Amartya Sen’s typology of “active” and “passive”
exclusion and “unfavorable inclusion” to explain the processes that limit
lower castes’ access to and their self-deselection from educational
opportunity. The findings are analyzed within Pierre Bourdieu’s
theoretical framework of social capital.

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