India’s ‘new’ middle classes have gained increasing prominence in media, political, and public imaginings since the liberalization of the economy in the 1990s. As a growing number of Indians living in an extraordinary variety of socio-economic circumstances are identifying as middle class, a concrete definition of this category remains elusive. Within the Limits explores what being ‘middle class’ means to those who identify as such.
Set against the backdrop of the south Indian city of Hyderabad, this work highlights the importance of moralized language of respectability and cosmopolitanism in the production of class and gender in India. The book charts how diverse understandings of the moral limits of middle-class being shape consumption patterns, education strategies, attitudes toward caste, shifting marriage ideals, and youth cultures of fashion and dating in the city.
Amanda Gilbertson is Lecturer in Youth and Contemporary India at the Australia India Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia.