Frames of Reference 2014
Annual student seminar conducted by the School of Media & Cultural Studies (SMCS)
at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
17 & 18 December 2014
Mediatised India 2.0
The last Indian general elections point to a transformation in the workings of the media. Much before the actual event, media networks, focusing on pre-poll surveys, were predicting the outcomes in shrill, often rhetorical debates about the need for hard decisive political leadership. Election advertising saw the prolific use of a range of media, from larger than life cutouts to social media posts and tweets. Alongside selective, and often abbreviated coverage, the media have also been responsible for silences and erasures of events and issues that concerned powerful political and commercial interests. With the consolidation of media oligarchies within mainstream media, an amplification of these trends seems imminent.
In the last two decades the media has turned more and more towards spectacle and sensationalism to garner markets. Complexity and plurality of ideas are replaced by an overwhelming impulse to simplify and thereby engender strains of fundamentalism and conservatism. Victim blaming, victim as spectacle and chasing down victims for stories as in sexual assault cases passes for committed journalism. A whole constituency of citizens from indigenous peoples to religious minorities to the working class are denied spaces and opportunities to represent themselves and are constructed as anti-national and violent when they begin to demand their basic rights to equity and social justice.
Even as the mainstream media businesses continue to reinforce the status quo, a range of media in the shape of websites, blogs, social media and documentary film, committed to alternative visions, seem to resist this in multiple ways. These negotiations are also made possbile by the emergence of accessible convergent technologies such as the cellphone. This resistance has been read variously as armchair activism of no real consequence or as deeply significant to the processes of change by mounting a challenge to mainstream narratives, serving as an archive of events and experiences and sites of commoning. Simultaneously, there is also a growing manifestion of intolerance and hate speech as the Internet becomes a battleground, sometimes dominated and managed by the neo-liberal right wing forces, informed by the rhetoric of a hard, ‘masculine’ leadership and a majoritarian nation state. With the consolidation of media monopolies, online media platforms are increasingly becoming spaces for commerce, governance and the production of a citizen/consumer subject, through algorithms that privilege capital.
Frames of Reference 2014 is an attempt to engage with these ongoing transformations in media and media cultures and politics in India. Papers are invited on the following themes, but not limited to:
1. Media spectacles and spectatorship.
2. The Internet and the politics of hate.
3. Media silences, erasures and censorship.
4. Media monopolies, regimes of control and resistance.
5. Genderscapes in the media.
6. New online media ecologies.
7. Transformation of regional television.
8. Media activism, communities and solidarity networks.
9. Representing the ‘other’.
10. Changing newsroom codes and cultures
11. The new Panoptic technologies
Email your abstracts (not exceeding 300 words) to email@example.com
Please send us the following details along with your abstract:
Full name, Current institutional affiliation & Mobile phone number
The last date for the submission of abstracts is October 10th 2014.
Rules & regulations:
Selected participants will be provided hospitality but will be required to cover their own travel costs. Co-authoring of papers is allowed. But hospitality will be provided only for one participant.
Frames of Reference is a student seminar. We require all participants to be students at a postgraduate level or above. Documentary evidence (such as ID card or bonafide certificate from the institution) will be required.
For queries, contact: Ashwin (+91 8454822662) Geetha (+91 7506209065)