Research areas

The SMCS undertakes research in the following broad areas:

  • Film and Television Studies
  • Documentary Film and Media Representation
  • Media Censorship
  • Media Representation of Marginalised Groups
  • Urbanism, Gender and Public Space
  • Globalisation, Sexuality and Questions of Representation
  • Young Women and Feminism
  • Political Economy of Media
  • Participatory Media Democratic Decentralisation
  • Micro- Level Planning and Local Self Governance
  • Globalisation and its implications for culture
  • New Media and ICTs

M.Phil/Ph.D Thesis

MA Dissertation

M.Phil/Ph.D Thesis

PhD - Completed

Benedict Varghese
Title: Rethinking Religion, Redefining Politics: Malayalam Cinema from the 1980s to 2000 and beyond
Synopsis: The present study is an attempt to look at the course of redefining the politics of Malayalam cinema over a period of thirty years, 1970s-90s. We consider Malayalam Cinema as a cultural product and a process shaped by time and space and various constituencies like religion, race, ethnicity and gender and sexuality having different levels of stakes in articulating and rearticulating the politics of this product and process. We acknowledge these various constituencies, but we focus only on one, namely religion, and through a multi-layered methodology we plan to study the two-fold processes happening in Malayalam Cinema–rethinking religion and redefining politics.

Bidu Bhushan Das
Title: Media for Empowerment: A Study of Community Radio Initiatives in Bundelkhand
Synopsis: Community radio in India has witnessed a series of developments such as the Supreme Court’s judgment on airwaves, the Bangalore Declaration on Radio, Pastapur Initiative on Community Radio and a bill passed by the Union Cabinet. Some pertinent questions in the context of the nascent community radio movement in India are: Firstly, what is the structure and function of a community radio station (CRS) broadly? What is the relationship between the community, CRS and its management? How is it sustained? Secondly, what is the content developed by the CRS broadly? In particular, how is content developed? Who chooses the content? What is the power dynamics involved in developing the content? Thirdly, how does it help in the process of negotiation and empowerment? How do community audiences perceive it? To address some of these three broad questions, the proposed study will take up textual analysis and audience reception.

Charu Gargi
Title:The Indian Women’s Movement and Mainstream Hindi Cinema from 1980- to the Present
Synopsis: This thesis is situated at the intersection between the IWM and the mainstream film industry. The attempt is to negotiate and reread existing representations, to reveal cultural interruptions at this juncture and move towards generating newer representations, constructing a feminist praxis and creating a history of mainstream Hindi cinema from a feminist perspective. Locating the dissertation within the political climate of the last few decades, women’s experiences of violence and their cinematic representations are debated in this work.

Ketaki Chowkhani
Title: Governing Sexuality: Adolescents and the Politics of Sexuality Education in Contemporary India

Madhavi Manchi
Title: Media Technologies and Collective Memory: A Case Study of Deccan Development Society, Andhra Pradesh
Synopsis: This thesis aims to look at the co-evolution of media technologies and collective cultural memory. This study would use ideas and concepts from Media and Cultural Studies, as well as Cybercultures and Anthropology for building its theoretical and methodological frameworks and tools. In particular, it would use the concept of mediation of memories and Van Dijck’s concept of mediated memories to address the above. This study plans to explore this by taking for its case-study, an alternative developmental project called Deccan Development Society, based out of Medak district, Andhra Pradesh; specifically looking into the work of its Community Media Team.

Sudha Venkataswamy
Title: Growing Digital: Social and cultural implications of internet on school going children and early adolescents in Tamil Nadu
Synopsis: In the context of wide internet usage among children in India within the past decade, this study aims to understand what these changes mean for children and their families for their education, leisure participation and community. How and why children and adolescents use the medium is a crucial research question to address. This qualitative study will look at both urban and rural students in Tamil Nadu.

Shilpa Phadke
Title: Constructing Sexuality in the New Spaces of Consumption: Middle Class Women in Mumbai

Synopsis: The dissertation engages with the construction of sexuality new spaces of consumption focusing on malls and coffee-shops in Mumbai. Examining questions of class and modernity in shopping malls, the display of lingerie sold in these malls and public displays of heterosexual intimacy in coffee-shops, it argues that in these privatised global spaces a certain kind of heterosexuality compatible with the rise of a new middle class and the demands of a ‘global modernity’ is showcased as acceptable even desirable.


PhD - In Progress

Abu Mounir
Title: Voices of Rebellion: Little Magazines and Marxist Movements in West Bengal

Faiz Ullah
Title: Labour Action and Media Narratives 
Synopsis: The continuing labour action in and around the Maruti Suzuki India Limited’s (MSIL) Manesar plant is unprecedented in many ways. The protracted struggle is a testament to the tenacity of the involved workers. In its ability to mobilise and engender a range of solidarities it emerges as an illustrative case. The struggle saw the coming together of permanent, contract and interning workers; workers of different production verticals of the company; workers associated with the auto and auto ancillary industries in the Gurgaon-Manesar-Bawal industrial belt and elsewhere; traditional allies, like trade unions, university student groups and human right activists. That the workers’ demands were broad and political, and not limited to issues of working conditions and wages, also point out important developments that are taking place within the workers’ struggle in terms of self-activity and articulation. In addition to the above reasons, the MSIL management’s unyielding, and often brutal, response to the struggle is a crucial factor that transformed it from a localised event to a national, and even transnational, media phenomenon.In the resultant media reportage the management perspective has often been found to be privileged over the workers’. While the investing and consuming constituencies, subsumed under the neo-liberal ‘India growth story’ narrative, appear as subjects worthy of media attention the instances of strike and other strategies of resistance employed by the workers are represented as disruptions in the same narrative. Though it is very difficult to gauge how this kind of reportage shapes the public opinion and response, when such narratives are adopted uncritically by the state institutions like the judiciary, which exists to the preserve the constitutional rights of all the citizens without making any distinction, it points towards the ways in which the dominant discourse on labour struggles gets naturalised and tends to become a part of ‘common sense’. Through the course of the Maruti workers’ struggle a few outlets or individual journalists have indeed brought out, from time to time, alternative accounts to the fore. This dialectic of narratives and counter-narratives then presents us with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into the prevalent media ecosystem – comprising of texts, their production and the intended and unintended audiences – and attempt to arrive at more nuanced understanding of its workings than is afforded by the dominant media imperialism theories.The study will make use of discourse analysis to not only analyse the text but also look at the processes with which they are produced and the forms they eventually acquire. Ethnography of journalism and audiences has the potential to access the non-discursive knowledges in the news media ecosystem. These knowledges, in the case of former, are embedded in the everyday practices and with time enter the realm of tradition and operate, more or less, in conjunction with institutional ideologies. Such an approach will also be useful while exploring the ways in which audiences exercise their agency, interact with media discourses and come out with a range of meanings and responses. As a news producer, with over five years of experience, the researcher will also reflect on his own experiences through the course of the study.

K.V. Nagesh Babu
Title: The Telugu Red Cinema
Synopsis: Language cinema and the politics of the left emerge in a similar time period in the thirties. This is true of Telugu Cinema and the left politics in Andhra. This study seeks to look at the connections between the cultural politics of the left and Telugu cinema. The attempt is to locate this analysis in the practices surrounding the films allying with the left ideology broadly contained under the term ‘Red Cinema’. Although this term gained prominence in popular culture in the eighties, Telugu cinema’s history of linkages with the left since the thirties. The form, political orientation of the film texts and its audiences has also undergone transformation through the decades. The study involves textual analysis of a selection of films from 1940 – 2010, analysis of film business and distribution, archives, interviews with filmmakers and an ethnography of practices surrounding the Red Cinema.

Madhura Datta
Title: Application of theatre for social change: A bottom-up approach
Synopsis: This study critically examines the work of two organizations in West Bengal, working with ‘Theatre for Development’ and ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, and analyzes how they apply theatre as a tool for social development for securing community rights through community actions. The study will try to explore how theatre has been used for social change and development and for liberating the oppressed in the highly political setting of West Bengal and identify how the different forms converge and shift from the theories and existing studies. The study will also try to identify factors that work to make theatre effective for bringing about social change.

Meghna Bohidar
Title: To be determined.

Noopur Desai
Title: Negotiating the notion of 'Public': Contemporary art in public space - a case study of Mumbai

Rajeshwari Saha
Title: The Art of Life and Life of an Art: Patuas in the contemporary world
Synopsis: The study aims to capture the dynamics involved in the storytelling art of scroll painting- Patachitra, in the Naya village of West Medinipore district of West Bengal, through an engagement with the everyday lives of the artists and the audience in a contemporary scenario. The focus would be on the emergence of new contemporary themes within the art and ways in which it resonates with the artist’s life. The study also seeks to understand the changing nature and the place of the art form in the local and global context.

Shilshi  Kojing
Title: Cultural Studies: The Lamkang Tribe

Shivani Satija
Title: Understanding the constructions and contestations of ‘femininity’ in online space

Subha Chatterjee
Title: The Second Screen: Redefining viewer choices and negotiations in the News Broadcast business with relevance to the New Media

Swapnil Kamble
Title: To be determined.

Theyiesinuo Keditsu
Title: Fashion and the City: Young Naga Women and Naga Cultural Identity


Akanksha Jain
Title: Independent and Online: The Role of the Internet as an Alternative Production and Exhibition Platform for Short Films in India

Maheswata Das
Title: Cyberactivism: A Study of Changing Modes of Protest
Synopsis: This thesis deals with the perceptions of people who participate in online campaigns, whether as initiators or members and their opinions about how it influences the sustainability of democratic spaces of protest and dissent within the country and beyond. It becomes essential to understand how people engage themselves in online campaigns; how actively they are participating in the campaign and what they do to make it a success. In the age of internet, campaigns are initiated by people of all age groups. Even though the generation of youth is the one which often initiates these campaigns and raise its voice to get empowered, there are also people of other age groups who actively participate in these campaigns. This study also tries to understand the ways in which people of various age groups relate to cyberactivism.

Nadira Khatun
Title: Electronic Media and Public Issues: A Study of Mediation
Synopsis: This research project is an inquiry into the role of television programming and internet campaigns relating to civil society issues. It attempts to theorise how such programmes play or might play an important role in either forging or mediating the formation of civil society. The researcher focused on the electronic media and their role in relation to civil society issues, to explore their potential in the formation and expansion of civil society. The attempt was to explore the consequent implications of these programmes and internet campaigns in creating a space for dialogue and debate, thus promoting the growth of civil society.

Simona Sarma
Title: Women, Music and Identity: A Study of Goalporiya Folk Music