Unsettling India: Affect, Temporality, Transnationality
Purnima Mankekar is Professor in the Departments of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Screening Culture, Viewing Politics: An Ethnography of Television, Womanhood, and Nation in Postcolonial India and coeditor of Media, Erotics, and Transnational Asia, both also published by Duke University Press.
Transnational Hindi Television and the Unsettlement of Indianness
The late-1990s were critical years for television in India: they witnessed the proliferation of transnational television in India, the acceleration of commodity consumption, and the renegotiation of the symbolic and discursive boundaries of India and Indianness. While the programs of state-controlled television in the 1980s were driven by pedagogical impulses of national development, transnational television was also pedagogical in that it taught viewers and spectators how to become consumers. Television thus played a central role in the integration of India into the global capitalist economy. Simultaneously, commodity affects articulated with erotic affects which, while hardly new, were recharged through a renewed focus on intimacy and sexuality on television. This chapter traces some of the ways in which transnational Hindi television facilitated the generation, circulation, and convergence of affective regimes surrounding commodities and erotics and, thereby, played a central role in the unsettlement of notions of India and Indian culture.