Scholar

Caste, Democracy, and Digitality in India

By: Dibyadyuti Roy   Sreyan Chatterjee   Shivangi Soni  

In recent years, media and communication conferences have challenged the power differentials implicit as well explicit in both traditional and new media. However, the sphere of media cultures still suffers from a palpable Anglo-American scholarly bias. For example the recent call for papers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) 2019 “Democracy and Digital Media” conference makes casual cultural references to Twitch TV, CU-SeeMe, and Spotify—platforms that are opaque to a large part of the Global South. Discussions from and about a country like India, where over 800 million people still do not have access to the Internet would almost seem out of place within the restricted expectations of such hegemonic sites. In drawing attention to issues of “digital divide” this paper underscores how caste, class, and religion in India actively predicate access to media platforms. Simultaneously this research recovers the importance of subaltern subjectivities: specifically “Dalit” individuals and their collective as well as individual erasures in media cultures. By drawing attention to the etymological root of the word “Dalit,” which literally means “oppressed,” this study offer insights on traditional media artifacts like the “Dalit Panthers’ Manifesto” (modeled on the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program), print media’s influence on Dalit discourses as well as Dalit representations in new media platforms like Amazon Prime and Netflix. The goal of this paper is to review the historical interactions between traditional media artifacts and caste (Dalit) identities in India as well as discuss the possibilities and limitations of Dalit representation within media cultures.

Representation Power Popular Culture Politics Identities
Media Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session



Dibyadyuti Roy

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, COMMUNICATION, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT INDORE, INDIA, India
India



Sreyan Chatterjee

Student, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT INDORE




Shivangi Soni

Student, NDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT INDORE