Online Media Cultures and Middle Class Politics

The expansion of Internet-­enabled media has sparked new hopes of political participation, and new arenas for public debate and political action in urban India. The project explores these vibrant forms of debate cultures and political participation that have emerged with social media. Ongoing research has revealed how digitally mediated national imaginaries are a prominent strand of online media political cultures, which have developed as a zone of confrontation among net savvy middle class users. Current work is exploring the way market inflected socio-technological practices such as gamification, net busyness and trolling, and everyday contexts of Internet use shape the political practices of Hindu nationalist volunteers and activists of millennial political parties such as the Aam Aadmi Party and Loksatta. The study is based on ethnographic fieldwork among online users in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, and content analysis of social media debates.

Lead Researcher: Sahana Udupa


[Forthcoming, 2017] Clash of actors: Digital media and nation talk in urban India. In A. Punathambekar and S.Mohan (eds.) Digital South Asia. University of Michigan Press.  By Sahana Udupa

[2017] Gaali Cultures: The Politics of Abusive Exchange on Social Media. New Media and Society 8(2): 187–206. By Sahana Udupa

[2017] Online abuse: Shame, game and retort as political imagination. In SARAI Reader Act of Media. New Delhi: Sarai. By Sahana Udupa

[2016] Middle class on steroids: Digital media politics in urban India. India in Transition Series. University of Pennsylvania. March 14. By Sahana Udupa

[2015] Archiving as History–Making: Religious Politics of Social Media in India. Communication, Culture and Critique. 9(2): 212-230. By Sahana Udupa

[2015] ‘New India’s ideological warriors’. In P. van der Veer (ed.) Handbook on Religion in Asian Cities. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp 432−449. By Sahana Udupa

[2014] Aam Aadmi: Decoding the Media Logics. Economic and Political Weekly 49 (7): 13–15. By Sahana Udupa

Project details


ForDigitalDignity Project ONLINERPOL
Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Oettingenstrasse 67
Munich 80538

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