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Guest Lecture by Sahana Udupa: "Wither the Rural? News Media and the Urban Wave in Liberalizing India"

21. Okt 2014 16:00 Uhr bis 18:00 Uhr
Veranstalter: Junior Research Group C15 “Agrarian Alternatives” and the Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology
Karl Jaspers Centre, Room 212

This presentation turns a critical eye on the systemic changes in news production in the last two decades of liberalization, to show how they have led to an emphatic urbanization of the news discourse, rendering rural news as ‘non-mainstream’. Drawing on Bourdieu’s field theory, this presentation reveals that urbanization of news has implanted a particular vision of ‘New India’ across English and regional language newspapers, and across the print and television media. Udupa argues that these shifts have occurred through two interlinked processes: a value reversal of ‘soft news’ and ‘hard news’ in journalistic work, and growing reliance on agencies external to the news field as a source to reiterate the need for rural news. She traces these epochal changes in Indian journalism with particular attention to the southern Indian state of Karnataka and its capital city, Bangalore. The presentation concludes with a discussion on the effects of what is defined as the ‘bhasha’ media and how they offer a counter-discoZrse, if often unintentionally, to the master narrative of rural India as a site of enterprise than distress.


Sahana Udupa is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany. Her research interests have evolved around anthropological explorations of media cultures, urban politics, and popular religiosities. Her research on news media and the making of a ‘global city’ in India is published in American Ethnologist; Media, Culture and Society; Economic and Political Weekly and many other reputed journals. Her book, ‘Urban Deadlines: News, Publics and Politics in Globalizing India’ is under contract with Cambridge University Press. Her current project examines the growing salience of ethno-religious politics of social media in India, and how the interface between social media and religion in urban India brings to question some of the universalist assumptions around new media as secularizing technologies. She was a visiting scholar and currently an affiliate at the Center for Global Communication Research, University of Pennsylvania.



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