Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Center for Contemporary South Asia

Ieva Zumbyte ─ Adapted Delivery: How Childcare Workers and Parents Produce Care in the Neighborhoods of Chennai

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Leung Conference Room, Stephen Robert '62 Hall, 280 Brook Street

Lunch will be available.

Ieva Zumbyte is a PhD candidate in sociology. She will present a work-in-progress talk on her dissertation. Ieva's project draws on over 200 interviews and observations with childcare workers, administrators and parents across 15 neighborhoods in Chennai, India to examine what gives rise to uneven quality of public childcare services (anganwadis) that are ostensibly standardized. Ieva's research reveals how teachers use class and caste markers of the neighborhood to construct distinct perceptions of parents’ needs and expectations, which inform how they adjust the quality of childcare to the neighborhood context. These adjustments can lead to lower quality of services for poor residents unless they engage in claims-making motivating caregivers to improve childcare services. Ieva also demonstrates that poor and better-off parents' needs for childcare are similar, but poor parents’ demand-making for childcare quality is constrained by structural issues, such as lack of childcare alternatives as well as their views of public services more broadly. By revealing how feedback loops between teachers and residents shape quality of care, this research offers a new mechanism to explain why disadvantaged neighborhoods may receive poorer quality public services, beyond established explanations of resources, political-claims making and worker professionalization.

Graduate Student Seminar