South Asia

Organized Panel Session

Swarms, Crowds and Platforms: Modes of Assembly and Arrangement

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Rudraksha, Lower Ground Floor

This panel brings together a set of papers that seek to understand the emergence and force of apparently diverse modes of assembly and arrangement – swarms, crowds, and platforms – and in so doing generates new analytics for the study of collectives in contemporary India. Drawing from economic anthropology, anthropologies of science, cultural studies, and semiotics, the individual papers pick up distinct objects of analysis to show how arrangements of people, commodities, and bacteria produce effects and affects that are both highly specific and startlingly similar in their functions and consequences. Focusing on the organizational and regulatory dynamics as also the political and aesthetic force of these collectives in different ethnographic sites in India, the panel will index an alternate genealogy of spatial relations that emphasizes mutability, mobility, integration, and resistance. For instance: how might an emerging electronic agricultural marketing platform reconfigure relations and up-end conventional understandings of the rural and the urban? Or a beach in Mumbai become the site for the making of Bhojpuri community through crowd performances and sounds that signify spatial belonging? Elsewhere, we see how an iconic public space in the city of Delhi incites crowd movements that transform the legal regime on gender violence, while a microbiology laboratory in the same city re-imagines bodily space as a power contest between the multitude and the singular. The panel is an initial step towards rethinking disciplinary boundaries and interrogating received orthodoxies of how collectives are conceived and mobilized in contemporary social science. 

Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Shiv Nadar University, India

Presentation(s):

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Francis Cody

University of Toronto, Canada

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Rijul Kochhar

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States

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Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Shiv Nadar University, India

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Kathryn C. Hardy

Ashoka University, India

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Deepak Mehta

Shiv Nadar University, India

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Francis Cody

University of Toronto, Canada

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Ravi Nandan Singh

Hindu College, India

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