Regulated Independence: Female Students Living in Hostels in Central Gujarat, India
Author: Fieke Jägers
Young female students in Vidyanagar, India, are subjected to new living conditions. They moved away from their family homes for study purposes and are now living independently. The level of social control decreases in the absence of close family members, which offers these youngsters the possibility to act independently. Their hometown-based parents still manage, however, to impose restraining regulations on their daughters. They do so through various channels, which include their social network in Vidyanagar and the use of modern communication technology. At the same time, these young women are subjected to the social control of their new community: the Vidyanagar community. Deviant behaviour can have severe, long-term consequences for the reputation of both students and their families. However, in this temporary phase of independence, the young women secretively act upon their personal interest, in the realisation that they will have to conform to the dictates of yet another set of family members after graduation, their future in-laws.