Saturday, August 25, 2018

Dancing teachers and Pupils - Liminal meets the Morals


What makes it difficult for people to accept everyday thing which is not 'appropriate' or 'proper' in the strict societal and hypocritical senses? Let me explore them. But before that let me show you video which inspired me to write this blog.

Well its a video gone viral. It depicts a bunch of students and school teachers dancing possibly in their school compound together, apparently in a Hindi Song tune.

Yes, this instigated criticism and todays public media quite naturally took the matter to manufacture  opinions. Of course, it shook the Victorian morality of the people. Meanwhile, fearing the public shaming and possible humiliation one of the teachers explained the phenomenon as one of the highest emotional moments where they started to dance after a wonderful day-long programme. Here is her facebook comment.

She explains a) it was a girls' school, b) all of the gates were closed, hence a closed door and 'private' affair, c) the song which was played in the viral video is an edited one and original song was not a Hindi song and it was something else.

What makes her explain such a phenomenon of an intense emotion:

of course we know what makes her give explanations. First of all, a group of women dancing openly is way too much to the society at large. Secondly, they are not only women but also teachers, how can they dance. They are supposedly wear the serious 'teacherish' looks and carry a 'serousish' gomratherium looks. How can teachers smile and dance at all. Third and more importantly how can they dance in a popular Hindi song and inspire their students to dance as well. Hence, the explanation.

A patriarchal social mind loaded with a supposedly defined 'proper' Presentation of Self is expected to feel the shock going through the spine as Teachers becomes emotional with students and starts dancing with a song.

Meanwhile, the school remains a heterotpic, juxtaposed and liminal space all through. Students, yes the future of our species can do things which they cannot otherwise in their domestic sphere or known places. This ability to do things which they cannot do in other places makes School a space of uncertainty and not a place with certainty. Civilization with its aim of making a disciplined citizens/labours/products to rule over can never allow such liminal space to expand itself. Hence, teachers are supposed to be wearing masks of proper representations whom students can 'follow' to become the ideal types.

Such ideal types are constructed as faceless categories of expected behaviours and this, by no means fit the stereotypic expectations.


What is at stake with this unintentional viral video will reveal much of the initial question of this blogpost: what makes it difficult?

Well here is the list:

A. The sense of proper which is a subtle mechanism by which patriarch and civilization exercises power through multiple channels. Be it the sense of presentaiton of self, interpersonal relationships, defined place instead of space, and cultural gaze loaded with patriarch/discipline/hierarchy and so on.

B. The form of stereotypes which is installed within the everyday discourses of the public sphere. Such stereotypes exclude everything which is natural and humane only to include the established exchange relationships.

C. The hidden morality (moral policing to be precise) which is a complex outcome of the sense of proper and stereotypical that is not ready to face a slightest difference

D. The violent and exclusionary mechanism that links such collective sense of 'proper' with practices. In a sense it justifies the explanation given by the teacher in social media. Yes, this is out of fear of being labelled as deviant and then excluded.


While the schools as heterotypic, juxtaposed and liminal space remains as it is internally, the perception of proper surrounding the institution aggravates. No matter how shocking it may seem the incident actually shows the positive and humane dimensions of everydayness in the liminal space. It is and it should be as such otherwise there wont be much of a difference between a school, a hospital and perhaps a prison.


4 comments:

  1. This not only makes me laugh, both in sarcasm and glee, but also makes me realize why I am not acceptable in any 'proper institutionalised stereotypical'situation.....cos I was always before my times....always shedding my masks.

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