Volume 3: Issue 2: December 2019

Culture, Nation and Communication in India
Archana Singh, Ajaz Ahmad Gilani & Biswajit Das

Abstract- Culture and communication are austerely linked to what is in essence human. These two terms have frequently been defined, refined and redefined along time and context. Scholars, such as Latane (1996), have argued that communication is not only an essential feature of culture, but also suffices for the emergence of culture. Studies on culture, having its roots in both the traditional culture as well as the structure of a society, do not provide theoretical comfort to address the changing configurations in culture and communication. Culture indeed, transcends borders and territory through ‘cultural flows’ by means of communication. Conventional ideals of ‘nation’, ‘cultural identity’ and ‘collective identity’ are under scrutiny. This paper examines the existing literature and offers an analytical perspective to understand the role and importance of communication in the constitution of culture in Indian society. It also explores how national identity is constructed through communication by transcending cultural identity. The findings reveal that the current notion and meaning of national identity is inadequate to comprehend the changing contours of culture and communication.

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‘Gay Gaze’ and the Refashioning of Queer Imaginaries in Digital India
Utsa Mukherjee & Anil Pradhan

Abstract- The proliferation of internet access and digital technologies in contemporary India has reshaped the social role of the internet. Existing ethnographic accounts have demonstrated that digital platforms function as a key player in organising the often marginalised and stigmatised queer communities in the country. Building on this digital queer scholarship, this commentary analyses visual and textual archives that the internet makes available to gay men in India, helping them construct social imaginaries inaccessible to them in their immediate milieu. By offering a study of selected blogs and websites produced by and targeted towards gay men in India, we argue that a cultural studies perspective has valuable inputs to offer to the field of digital queer studies in India. We further theorise on the emergence and operation of a digital ‘gay gaze’ that turns the ‘male gaze’ upon the male body, mooring the political agency of same-sex desires through a cultural appropriation of online spaces.

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Memes as a Form of Political Discourse on Social Media
Rupa Peter

Abstract- Social media is a multi-sensory experience that uses aural, visual and linguistic cues to create a sense of hyper-reality. Political memes on social media have gained a tremendous amount of acceptance as a part of the cultural framework of urban India. They do not just lighten up serious political issues with a bit of humour, but also the satire inherent in them seeks to imbibe a culture of interactive communication on the political narratives of our times. This study seeks to understand how memes on social media act as a form of political discourse and seeks to study if they enable active participation and create a culture that opens up a space for discussion, debate and expression of dissent on key political issues. The present study qualitatively analyses political memes pertaining to contemporary events in Tamil Nadu politics on social media. Political memes studied focus on recent political issues which are mostly a satirical representation of political statements and actions by politicians. Their content borders on dissent against political hegemony. Findings indicate that scenes and shots from Tamil movies are an integral part of the meme culture and these memes generate positive reactions and are shared extensively. However, the commentary in terms of debates and discussions on them are minimal. Commentary on memes was either counter-hegemonic or served as reinforcement of existing political beliefs. Helping voice the public opinion and offering alternative, satirical and humourous views of political issues, memes have become an integral part of the political discourse on social media.

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Representation of Women In Print Media In India: A Case Study of Times of India
Tripta Sharma

Abstract- This paper seeks to analyse the portrayal and representation of women, their rights and concerns in the print media in India. Through a content analysis of a systematic-random sample of articles published in the Times of India (ToI), the largest circulated English daily, spanning over thirty years (1980 - 2010), the study shows that news related to women is not only abysmal in coverage but also gender insensitive. More importantly, this minuscule coverage is limited to issues such as crime and issues that matter to them are absent. Finally, the paper seeks to reflect upon the reasons for such a coverage by locating the nature of mainstream media into the wider coalesce of market and patriarchy.

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Dots and Lines: Semiotics of the Motifs in Gond Painting
Manash Pratim Goswami & Priya Yadav

Abstract- The Gond painting, one of the most-significant cultural identities of the Gond tribe of central India, has emerged worldwide as a highly recognised and appreciated tribal art form in recent times. From Dighna to canvas painting, the traditional images and religious beliefs of Gond people have travelled from their tribal settlements to exhibitions of modern art galleries across the world. Pradhan Gond, a sub-caste of the Gond, is known for making traditional paintings on a variety of themes. In general, the Gond paintings are known as the expression of love for nature and quest for life. The central idea behind decorating the mud walls of the Gond people is to highlight their firm belief in the saying that ‘viewing a good image begets good luck’. The Gond painters are traditionally known for filling the surface of the subjects of their paintings with some unique motifs. The forms, shapes, and sizes of the motifs of their paintings are highly influenced by nature, beliefs, folklore, culture and traditions of the community. However, several Gond painters have been using motifs of hybrid nature or inspired by motifs of other tribal or modern paintings in recent times. The commercialisation, competitions and intellectual property rights (IPR) norms have made almost every recognised Gond painter to follow individual and legally registered motif (s) as his/her distinct identity(ies). The Motif, any recurring element with symbolic significance in a narrative, can be understood and interpreted with the theory of semiotics. The semiotic theory as suggested by Professor Gillian Rose, in research work on ‘Visual Methodologies’ and the Innovative methodology proposed by Professor Mieke Bal, a Dutch cultural theorist and Professor Norman Bryson, an art historian, will be applied to study, understand and interpret the significance of different motifs of Gond artists.

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Volume 3: Issue 1: June 2019

Mass Media Coverage of HIV/AIDS: The Unintended Consequences
Nikhil Kumar Gouda

Abstract- The reach of mass media is large and it creates awareness at a very fast pace. Several studies have pointed it out and vouched for its use to create awareness about the issues of HIV/AIDS community. Furthermore, researches all over the world have concurred that collaborating with mass media is not free from challenges. The present study conducted in the Ganjam district of Orissa, with 78 percent of rural population and one of the 14 districts of India with high HIV Prevalence among ANC (Antenatal Clinic) attendees (HIV Sentinel Surveillance by NACO, 2006), explores some of the unexplored dimensions of mass media coverage. The study uses the Grounded Theory method (Strauss & Corbin) and finds out that the coverage of mass media especially the vernacular print media is ineffective in its very purpose of creating awareness on the disease, reducing HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination in society and fighting for the rights of PLHA (People Living with HIV/AIDS). Biased and prejudicial media coverage of the disease result in compounding of already existing HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination. It also looks for a communication action plan to reduce the unintended consequences of mass media coverage of HIV/AIDS.

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Effect of Customer Satisfaction on Customer Loyalty with the Moderation of Brand Image
Vippa Dhingra, Monica Sainy & P. N. Mishra

Abstract- The study aims to understand the impact of service quality and price on customer satisfaction in the telecom industry. It also tries to analyse the moderating impact of brand image on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty among telecom customers. The study is based on telecom service providers in Central India. Previous studies have suggested that there exist linear as well as non-linear relations between brand image, level of satisfaction among customers and customer loyalty. This study tries to investigate the nonlinear relationship between customer loyalty and customer satisfaction among telecom customers based on the interactive effect of brand image. The result of the study is based on data gathered from 212 respondents of various telecom operators using hierarchical regression analysis method. Multiple Regression is used to test the relationship of service quality, price and customer satisfaction at the first stage. The moderating impact of brand image on customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is studied in the second stage using the hierarchical regression model. The results suggest that service quality and price perception have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. Brand image does not have a direct impact on customer loyalty but has a moderating effect on the relationship between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

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Quantification of Media Freedom and Development: A Critical Commentary
N. Usha Rani

Abstract- All development aims to improve human lives by ensuring opportunities and choices. There is transition in development thinking placing human well-being beyond conventional economic growth. Development is no longer about increase in income but it is about addressing deprivation of education, health, and living standards to live in an equitable society. According to Amartya Sen, development narrative has changed to include a new approach to development that is ‘freedom’. Global agencies are improvising upon methodologies and tools to capture development both quantitatively and qualitatively. Development index measures various dimensions and indicators. The discourse on Media as a dimension in UNDP HDI Reports makes interesting revelations. This paper is a critique of the role of HDI reports in conceptualizing media as a dimension to measure development. It focuses on innovative methods in measuring intangible indicators like voice and accountability measure to correlate with human development. The study shows, initiatives to standardize media index to integrate with Human Development Index have not met with success.

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Communicating Climate Change through Cartoons
Asha Alexander & I. Arul Aram

Abstract- Climate change is understood as a change in climatic conditions, hot becoming hotter and cold, colder. Exploitation of nature to meet human needs has been a hot topic at recent global forums. Many human actions are now under scrutiny for having causative links to the unprecedented levels of climate change around the world. With the proliferation of media, the role played by the media in educating people on environmental issues calls for in-depth analysis. Cartoons, in particular, can play a major role in making people understand the science of climate change in a humorous way. This study has selected five cartoons on climate change from different websites through a purposive sampling technique. Each cartoon falls under one of the five themes chosen: deforestation, fossil fuels, desertification, glacier melt, and erratic weather patterns. Using discourse analysis and ecocriticism, the study finds that the select cartoons have effectively portrayed the graveness of climate change issues such as global warming, polar ice melting, drying up of water bodies, and desertification. A focus group discussion was also conducted to understand the reception of these cartoons by audience members, which revealed how the cartoons had managed to communicate successfully the long-term negative impacts of these phenomena on human as well as non-human lives.

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Representations of Suicides in the Print Media
Mridula Benjamin & Padmakumar K

Abstract- Around the world, there has been a sharp rise in the number of suicides in the past few decades and India has been well ahead in the suicide charts. Unfortunately, the Indian media has in the past not paid much attention to the effect of media sensationalism of suicides, with very little literature examining sensationalism in the representations of suicide in the media. This study, employing a Triangulation approach involving qualitative and quantitative content analyses, attempts to examine this research problem by studying how suicides are reported in two popular newspapers published from the Indian city of Bangalore—Times of India and Deccan Herald—and to identify areas in which the reporting of suicides can be improved to reduce the adverse effects of reporting suicides in the media. Study results indicate that while reporting such cases, there is a need for more adherence to responsible reporting.

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