ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Lucid Expositions of Mediatised Societies

Media and the Constitution of the Political: South Asia and Beyond edited by Ravi Vasudevan, New Delhi: Sage Spectrum Publications, 2022;
pp xiii + 319, 

The deep linkages between media and the larger political economy surrounding it have been a focus of study for long, with Benedict Anderson’s 1983 work Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism being considered a starting point for many media students. What the edited volume by Ravi Vasudevan titled Media and the Constitution of the Political: South Asia and Beyond does is to expand on this ideological terrain and look at the various ways in which media infrastructures, artefacts, and technologies weave together in complex ways to constitute the political, which is always in a state of flux.

Like Vasudevan observes in his introduction, the political is not a given entity for contributors to the volume. He notes that the political is always entangled in media and points to the need of establishing how “information, perception and knowledge are always mediatized” (p 1). A more succinct explanation is provided by Srirupa Roy in her chapter titled “Target Politics,” where she defines the political as “the set of spaces, structures, ideas and actions that organize and distribute material and normative resources and social power” (p 285). While every author in this volume does not explicitly explain their use of the term “political” at the outset, the specific connections they identify between media entities or phenomenon and their effects on the larger sociopolitical systems (and vice versa) give the reader a clear perspective on the workings of a heavily mediatised society.

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