Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-7c2ld Total loading time: 0.228 Render date: 2021-12-01T23:04:42.401Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

1 - State of the Experiment: Experts, Parents and the Reformatory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

Get access

Summary

At present it must only be regarded as an experiment, though an experiment with a very fair chance of success, and one in which a little success will counterbalance many failures.

Bengal committee on reformatory schools, 1874

Expertise and experiments, rather than reformed children, were the prized products of the colonial reformatory. Not long after the initiation of the reformatory project in India, a curious assortment of career jailors, modernizing bureaucrats, native authority figures, women social workers, capitalists and religious colonizers had gathered under the umbrella of juvenile reform. As a group, they were similar to the ‘voluntary empire’ that Patricia Barton has identified in early twentieth-century entrepreneurial oversight, but not identical or coterminous, being much more closely affiliated with the state. Simultaneously, the increasing significance and authority of the ‘professional’ had expanded and complicated the qualifications that were required of the supervisors of institutionalized children. Under the circumstances, expertise and authority were not stable in their disciplinary, racial, geographical and gendered locations. They were contested continuously between ‘qualified’ professional and ‘unqualified’ worker, expert and expert, scientist and bureaucrat, birth parent and surrogate parent, European and native, metropolitan specialist and colonial improviser, institutional patriarch and female interloper.

This instability increased in the closing years of the nineteenth century as middle-class Indians became more assertive in the reformatory, because these men (and eventually women) brought with them their peculiar political imperatives.

Type
Chapter
Information
Colonial Childhoods
The Juvenile Periphery of India 1850–1945
, pp. 9 - 50
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2005

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×