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Youth in India’s regional towns face a paradox: they are exposed to discourses of neoliberal globalisation through education and media, yet are unable to seize the benefits of globalisation, due to regional isolation. In this paper, we explore how aspirations of youth in India’s regional towns are influenced by their geographic marginalisation. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Darjeeling, a regional town in West Bengal, we demonstrate that regional youth feel disadvantaged in their access to middle-class jobs, modern education and lifestyles associated with neoliberal globalisation. Consequently, they express strong desires for ‘exposure,’ which can only be met through migration, particularly to India’s metropolitan cities. They are frustrated in their aspiration to migrate, however, as they feel constrained by the traditional family structure, discrimination in the larger cities and the uneven temporalities between regional towns and ‘global India.’ Their experiences highlight the geographically uneven effects of neoliberal globalisation.


School of Arts

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Journal Article

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