Hybridity or the Cultural Logic of Globalization/Gandhi Meets Primetime: Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television

By Muppidi, Sundeep R. | Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, Autumn 2006 | Go to article overview
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Hybridity or the Cultural Logic of Globalization/Gandhi Meets Primetime: Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television


Muppidi, Sundeep R., Journalism & Mass Communication Educator


(ProQuest Information and Learning: ... denotes text stops here in original.)

* Kraidy, Marwan M. (2005). Hybridity or the Cultural Logic of Globalization. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, pp. 226.

* Kumar, Shanti (2006). Gandhi Meets Primetime: Globalization and Nationalism in Indian Television. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, pp. 240.

Culture, its very nature and influence on its own and other foreign societies, has long been debated by scholars in social sciences. Various theories have been put forward over the years. In terms of nature, one school of thought interprets "culture" as a constant while another school of thought posits it as "ever-changing." In terms of influence, one school of thought sees "native cultures" at the mercy of the homogenizing influences of the "dominant," mostly "Western" cultures promoted through media programming while the other school of thought hypothesizes total resistance by the local cultures to the influences of the "invading" culture. In between these extreme viewpoints, a broad and complex spectrum of other schools of thought advocates various shades of interpretations on the nature and power of influence of "culture." Similar is the case with other terms such as Nationalism, Identity, Cultural Pluralism, Consumerism, and Hybridity, among others. It is within this complex interplay of these spectra that the viewpoints advocated by both these authors, Shanti Kumar and Marwan Krady, lie. Both Kumar and Kraidy use "hybridity" at the core of their arguments to advance their theses but they are not on the same page.

Kumar's book explores the implications of transnational television networks in an Indian context. While discussing the spread of a consumerist culture, "nationalism" and "electronic capitalism," on and through Indian television, Kumar uses the "hybridization" argument to dispel notions of what he terms an "artificial" choice between "tradition" and "modernity" which he attributes to the legacies of "western colonialism" and "post-colonial nationalism" (p.118). He argues that this phenomenon has led to a "radical reimagination of nationalism in post-colonial India" and frames "the problematic of nationalist imagination in Indian television in relation to the cultural thematics of identity and difference" (p.2). He argues that

the colonial distinctions of print-capitalism-such as the colonized and the colonizer, inside and outside, us and them-have been blurred by the rapid growth of electronic capitalism, and a new generation of media elites have mobilized television to articulate (i.e. link) hybrid imaginations of identity and difference to idealized notions of Indian nationalism (p.2).

In the context of the proliferation of television in various Indian languages, and the popularity of cinema and the print media, Kumar explores the imaginations of nationalist identity and cultural differences in India. In addition, he explores the autonomy for Doordarshan debate; the viewing practices of Indian television; and the development of an Indian community for television. In exploring the "role of television in mediating collective imaginations of nationalism in postcolonial India," (p.21), Kumar specifically explores the question of "Is there an Indian Community of Television" in five different ways, i.e., by emphasizing the terms "Is," "an," "Indian," Community," and "television" while framing the same question every time. In the first emphasis on "Is," Kumar explores the "dissemination of a nationalist autonomy in Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati in terms of a hybrid formulation of imagination" (p.21). In the second emphasis, on "an," Kumar "deconstructs diverse representations of television as a cultural commodity" and contends that the "question of an (italicized in the original) Indian community of television can be addressed in terms of a bifocal vision that enables the viewer to be at home in the world of electronic capitalism" (p.

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