Visual Essay: Semiotic Ecology
Entering the gates of an elite school elicits a variety of feelings based on the individual’s relationship to such institution and the power they represent. Some of these gates, like those at Ripon College in India, are laden with meaning. In this chapter, Rizvi reflects on his own experiences of fieldwork at this elite school. These experiences are positioned in relation to his theoretical reflections on social aesthetics. Rizvi’s thoughts are particularly important since his own approach to an Indian school differs somewhat from MacDougall’s take on the Doon School. For Rizvi, theorizing social aesthetics is complicated by the different ‘aesthetics’ experienced. He also considers how the social is defined within social aesthetics suggesting that it incorporates relational aspects of the national and the global. A large part of this relationality is the way that the school defines itself against what is outside its gates. This has a significantimpact on what happens at the school—what is taught and what is expected of the students once they leave.