Call for Papers

Posted: 11.09.2023

Media activates political-social communication between people, society, and the state in any political system. In a democracy like India, media is a crucial form of feedback, reflection and self-critique from a participatory society and responsive state. However, the traditional structure of mass communication in the political context has changed in India. Democratic processes are fostered through digital media usage, which is also instrumental in creating social capital. Predicting people’s social capital, choices, and civic and political participatory behaviours through their digital media usage (Chadwick 2006; Gil De Zúñiga et al. 2012) is increasing in India, as elsewhere. Similarly, the popular culture of India captures a big part of this participation-response cycle. It is both deeply political and symptomatic of the social-political-economic health of the nation, as well as a conduit to seek alternatives.


Popular culture has been understood from various perspectives. On the one hand, it is the aesthetic products which are created and sold by profit-seeking firms in the global/local entertainment markets (Grazian,  2010) where it represents the acceptance of the capitalist mode of consumption generated by industrial mass media (Adorno,  Horkheimer, 2002). On the other hand, popular culture is also understood as a factor behind social cohesion that binds social imagination across many layers of distinctive identities (Durkheim, 1912/1995; Durkheim, 1893/1997). Either way, the mediatisation of popular culture represents the sedimented impacts of media (Hepp et al., 2023), which ‘increasingly come to saturate society, culture, identities and everyday life’ (Fornäs, 1995:1) and even transgress it (Shilina, 2021). As popular culture is often understood as being linked to mass media, it is implicated in the idea of mediatisation (Fornäs, 2014: 283). In a mediatised popular culture, the agenda is to capture the popular imagination and frame moral-ethical values that contour the cultural-political-economic framework of the society. The ownership and control of information and communication is for agenda setting, which, in this case, is via popular culture. Popular culture helps media to transcend its old limitations where media ‘[could not] tell you what to think, only what to think about’ (McCombs and Shaw, 1972). With AI, global capital and social media increasingly set the choices for the popular (Esposito, 2022; Hepp, 2019; Hepp  et al., 2023).


This special edition aims to contribute to the new discourse on Indian popular culture and its mediatisation. We invite cutting-edge research exploring various aspects of this topic, which employ eclectic methods and theoretical frameworks. The submissions may draw upon the Indian context and philosophical premises to present analyses of the interplay between media and Indian popular culture. In this backdrop, the new research may capture the nature, form, and impact of the mediatisation of popular culture in India, where:


  1. Norms of political communication are shaped, modified and transformed in popular culture.
  2. Multiple political communities and political consciousness emerge via popular culture.
  3. The relationship patterns between the people, state, bureaucracy, and governance get sedimented in popular culture.
  4. Elections, democracy, nationalism, resistance, and protest are deeply enmeshed in popular culture.
  5. Fake news, fact-checking platforms, propaganda, image-building, political advertising, celebrityhood, leadership charisma and populism intertwine in popular culture.
  6. Roles of multinational corporations, global capital and national capital become evident in popular culture.
  7. Gender, caste, religion, ethnicity, language, and class find mainstream and alternate expressions in popular culture.
  8. Constitutional and political values are tested/re-examined via popular culture.
  9. Ecological and economic worldviews collide and create a variety of claims over the popular.
  10. Media and popular culture's political, social, and economic ecosystems show contradictions and concurrence.
  11. The ‘social’ in popular culture transforms in terms of the public, private, and in-between.
  12. Popular culture reflects specific aesthetics and psyche/emotions like power, hurt, control, hate and love.
  13. Art, literature, cinema, and myriad new forms of expression intervene at both the collective societal and individual levels via popular culture.
  14. AI, data, privacy, intellectual property rights and information exchanges are reflected/debated/challenged in popular culture.
  15. Alternative, contemporary, and traditional media forms vie for influence over popular culture.
  16. Expressions on the foreign affairs of India, its image, and its role in world politics emerge in popular culture.
  17. Variants of security rationales emerge and consolidate or slide in popular culture.
  18. The binaries of international/global/cosmopolitan and national/domestic/local merge in popular culture.


We look forward to receiving contributions that delve into these topics and outline the complexities and trends of the mediatisation of popular culture in India.


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