Aswin Punathambekar: “Media, Sociability, and Political Potentials in Contemporary India”
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
To suggest that there is a strong relationship between participatory culture and civic/political engagement would not come as news to anyone in India. In fact, the past decade has been marked by a number of astonishing instances of participation surrounding entertainment media intersecting with and reshaping a wider political field. Academic discussions of these events have been focused on the question: what constitutes meaningful participation? Not surprisingly, these discussions have focused on the explicitly political dimensions of these moments of participation. Instead of this narrow emphasis on political effects, Aswin Punathambekar draws on a range of cases across India, China, and the Middle East to ask: what happens when such phases of participation fade away? What are the cultural and political implications of a zone of participation that lasts a few weeks or months at best? Tracing shifts in media industry logics as well as audience participation facilitated by mobile media technologies, this presentation foregrounds the sociable and everyday dimensions of media use. Punathambekar argues that it is only when we comprehend how participatory culture and everyday life are braided together that we can meaningfully pose questions about how media can be politically productive.
Aswin Punathambekar is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. He is the author of From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry (NYU Press, 2013), and co-editor of Global Bollywood (NYU Press, 2008) and Television at Large in South Asia (Routledge, 2012). He has also published articles in various anthologies and journals including Media, Culture and Society, International Journal of Cultural Studies, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies, and Popular Communication: International Journal of Media and Culture. He is currently working on two books. The first is a historical account of the development of the Indian television industry. The second, provisionally titled Mobile Publics: Media, Participation and Political Culture in Digital South Asia, examines how convergence between television and mobile media technologies is reconfiguring the meanings and performance of citizenship.