Exploring the linkages between social capital and school choice, the present paper attempts to examine the aspirations and school choice of parents living in an urban village in Delhi. The paper uses the idea that aspirations and choices around schooling are spatially informed. Particularly, one’s immediate neighborhood and spatial context have an impact on the kind of networks and ties formed with respect to choices and aspirations regarding schooling of children. Two theoretical models namely ‘The Theory of Capitals’ and ‘Critical Spatial Theory’ have been used to understand the nature of school choices. Further, the model of spatial positions and spatial dispositions by Yon and Lubienski (2017) is used to study social capital formation and choice making among the families living in an urban village in Delhi.
In Delhi, the emergence of urban villages was a result of ‘village engulfing’ process, put forth in the 1961 Delhi Master Plan. In the 1961 master plan, about 20 villages located within the urban area were declared to be urban villages, increasing from 135 (2011) to 224 urbanized villages in 2017. Such transformations of rural to urban centers, especially at the peripheries of the city, has given rise to different social relationships and networks. In this context, the present paper tries to examine the types of social networks made by different residents of an urban village in Delhi and how these networks mediate the parents’ aspirations and school choice with respect to their child’s schooling.
Key Words:Social Capital, Aspirations, School Choice, Urban Village