Being Middle-Class in India : A Way of Life
Hailed as the beneficiary, driving force and result of globalisation, India’s middle-class is puzzling in its diversity, as a multitude of traditions, social formations and political constellations manifest contribute to this project. This book looks at Indian middle-class lifestyles through a number of case studies, ranging from a historical account detailing the making of a savvy middle-class consumer in the late colonial period, to saving clubs among women in Delhi’s upmarket colonies and the dilemmas of entrepreneurial families in Tamil Nadu’s industrial towns.
The book pays tribute to the diversity of regional, caste, rural and urban origins that shape middle- class lifestyles in contemporary India and highlights common themes, such as the quest for upward mobility, common consumption practices, the importance of family values, gender relations and educational trajectories. It unpacks the notion that the Indian middle-class can be understood in terms of public performances, surveys and economic markers, and emphasises how the study of middle-class culture needs to be based on detailed studies, as everyday practices and private lives create the distinctive sub-cultures and cultural politics that characterise the Indian middle class today. With its focus on private domains middleclassness appears as a carefully orchestrated and complex way of life and presents a fascinating way to understand South Asian cultures and communities through the prism of social class.