Aspirations and Contestations: ICT Training and Subjectivities Among Marginalized Youth

Sreela Sarkar


My ethnographic research in the urban peripheries of New Delhi critically examines a popular, ICT-led skills training initiative for marginalized youth. Contemporary policy discourses in India emphasize the urgency for “training” versus “education” to prepare an efªcient workforce trained for India’s emerging, global economy. I argue that marginalized youth form critical subjects of these ICTD projects. Contrary to the aims of the training initiatives, participants continue to prioritize and press for an education. Their claim is an assertion of equality with more privileged individuals based on their experiences of a lack of access to familial, institutional, and linguistic privileges. I demonstrate that students’ narratives disrupt the policy emphasis on consumption and hygiene, and point to deeper structural inequities in their lives. My research highlights the contradictions of ICTD programs and the limitations of the promise of inclusionfor marginalized youth in the global economy.


ICTD, skills training, India, ethnography, critical, youth, inequality

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