Media, Communication, Digitalization
Everyday life and politics in South Asia have become intensely mediated over the past two decades. With the accelerated distribution of technologies, facts, opinions and events have come to be gripped by a new sense of immediacy, turning large numbers of audiences in real time to matters physically far removed from them and drawing them into the fold of happenings through imagery and sound bites that are permanently being circulated through news networks, online platforms and social media onto television and smartphone screens. The repertoire of these images and sound bites is not limited to (historical) events of grand scale (such as natural disasters, organized violence or political campaigns/protests) but includes everyday politics, religiosity, piety and aggression. Online publics appear to acutely organize around Twitter storms and WhatsApp groups that precipitate sentiments of outrage, hatred, anger and exhilaration, influencing media programming and algorithms in turn. These shifting conditions and contingencies in the formation of publics, we suggest, make it an important task for scholars to analyze and theorise new media structures, media discursivity and the ways in which these publics energize their political, civic and religious lives.
This panel will thus collectively explore the significance and the ‚effects of affect‘ for the generation and the transformation of publics. While putting one emphasis on different forms and shapes of affect that seem to inform the responses of diverse groups with similar intensity (violent, moral, religious, political/activist), we also seek to understand how affect matters and how media discursivity hones in the different ways in which affects are ordered, distributed and demarcated among media publics. Moreover, we are interested in tracing the translation of affect into the legitimation of action and into the transformation, solidification and normalization of attitudes, beliefs, convictions and memory.
We expect this panel to lead us towards a nuanced discussion of the changing nature of publics under the intensification of media presence, speed of transmission and immediacy of event and message, encompassing apparent paradoxes of their (semi-)privatization as well as their fleeting, overlapping forms on the one hand and their self-assured, polarised contents on the other.