Digital Politics in Millennial India

International Symposium in New Delhi to discuss the political ramifications of the phenomenal expansion of Internet enabled media in India.

International Symposium in New Delhi

Convened by Sahana Udupa, LMU Munich, ShriramVenkatraman, IIIT Delhi, and Aasim Khan, IIIT Delhi

15-17 March 2018

The phenomenal expansion of Internet media in India in the last two decades has enabled new forms of political participation in the public domain, while also facilitating hitherto unimagined ways of consolidating domination and state power. In spite of the limited access and wide social inequities in terms of access and use, online media has been used as a mobilizing tool across a range of social and political movements. From the recent student led campaigns onthe university campuses to the digitally enabled civic activism against corruption, the rise of online networks has decisively changed the face of political activism and public cultures. As digital natives, India’s millennials are increasingly drawn into online media to mobilize, satirize, and express their interest in political matters.

India’s 350 million Internet users constitute the world’s second largest online user base, next only to China. The promise of digital governance has led to a massive state- led agenda for digitization. Digital media cultures have grown by leaps through WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and a variety of new media platforms. Studies on digital media’s political and social ramifications are yet to reflect the magnitude and potential of Internet growth in a vast, fractious and deeply diverse polity such as India. What kinds of political participation are the Internet enabled media and mobile media co-creating? How are they enabling new imaginations and articulations of citizenship and belonging, especially for the youth who constitute the most active community in India’s online public domain? What voices are amplified and what are effaced? What tactics are crafted and what affects are inspired?

Scholars and digital media activists will gather at IIIT Delhi to advance some of these questions. Together, we aim to unpack the Internet media as information sources, rumor machines, affective affinity spaces, vehicles of propaganda, and objects of state policy as they increasingly shape the political present.

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For Digital Dignity, Project ONLINERPOL
LMU, Social and Cultural Anthropology
Oettingenstr. 67
80538 Munich, Germany
ONLINERPOL@ethnologie.lmu.de