This book analyzes the narratives of urban, North Indian women for the diverse ways in which they construct the impact of their medium of education – Hindi, English, or a combination of both – on varied aspects of their professional and personal lives. It examines how participants reinforce or interrogate firmly entrenched power heirarchies that have long elevated English in India. Adotping a social constructionist perspective, and treating oral narratives as impacted both by local interactional contingencies and by larger social contexts, this book provides an innovative framework for the analysis of narratives told in qualitative research interviews. Stylization, mock languages, similes and metaphors, reported speech, and varied interactional cues are some of the devices used to examine the intersectioanlity of power and identity within participants’ oral narratives. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of narrative research, gender, language and identity studies, postcolonialism, and to all those who are interested in the nuanced ways in which power intersects with professional identity constructions of women in patriarchal societies.
“This exceptional book explores how power operates in narratives through examining how Indian women from many walks of life tell stories and position themselves within Indian society. In her careful and detailed analysis, Sandhu shows us how women's lives are continually shaped by their Hindi-medium or English-medium education, from job interviews to workplaces to romantic relationships, and how they construct their identities in response to the many challenges they encounter” Christina Higgins, Professor, Department of Second Language Studies, University of Hawai`i at Manoa.