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Title: Paper chains : the techno-politics of communication in modern India
Author: Dhital, Pragya
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 9651
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis sets out to challenge identitarian understandings of group formation premised in a dichotomous view of state-society relations, by paying closer attention to the technical means by which groups are sought to be mediated. It proposes to do so through the concept of techno-politics, which encompasses literacy as a technology that is not limited to the study of texts or the exclusive preserve of the literate. It aims to contribute to literature on modern Indian politics, and also to that on general themes and specific topics. At the metalevel it offers a reconsideration of social and political communication. In general, state language and media policy, censorship, emergency rule and electoral law. Specifically, Urdu's status and fluctuating fortunes in post-Independence India; the first iteration of Abul Kalam Azad's al-Hilal magazine, discussed in genealogical relation to later Urdu journalism; the internal emergency of 1975-77; and the 2014 general election. Through case studies of an 'exceptional' language and various 'special' periods, it seeks to cover both critical events and the workings of the everyday state. In keeping with its scepticism about unilinear sender-message-receiver models of communication, it is based on a multi-layered methodological approach: the reading of government reports and statistical information, constitutions and legal codes, against the findings of archival research, interviews and ethnographic observation, conducted in north India over two years in total, between August 2010 and September 2014.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral