The Virtual Transformation of the Public Sphere
Knowledge, Politics, Identity
Edited by Gaurav Desai
Routledge India – 2013 – 316 pages
This book explores how new media technologies such as e-mails, online forums, blogs and social networking sites have helped shape new forms of public spheres. Offering new readings of Jürgen Habermas’s notion of the public sphere, scholars from diverse disciplines interrogate the power and possibilities of new media in creating and disseminating public information; changing human communication at the interpersonal, institutional and societal levels; and affecting our self-fashioning as private and public individuals. Beginning with philosophical approaches to the subject, the book goes on to explore the innovative deployment of new media in areas as diverse as politics, social activism, piracy, sexuality, ethnic identity and education. The book will immensely interest those in media, culture and gender studies, philosophy, political science, sociology and anthropology.
"This important volume is the first to offer a serious analysis of the relevance of the Habermasian view of the public sphere to the age of virtual communication . . . [A] rich mix of philosophical insights and ethnographic analyses from unlikely locations . . . [it] is destined to become a major interdisciplinary resource for all scholars concerned with the future of democratic participation in the age of virtuality."
- Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, USA
"A stunning array of papers and a sparkling introduction make this an invaluable guide to the triangulation of publics, politics and technics . . . [It] showcases much original research and challenging thinking and provides essential tools for understanding not only contemporary India but also the world it is helping to make."
- Christopher Pinney, Professor of Anthropology and Visual Culture, University College London, UK
"The book examines ways that participating in the VPS impacts communities (both virtual and in the lived world), aesthetics, identity, commerce, subject positions, the subconscious, and the unconscious. The essays are consistently sharp, well written, and provocative… All told, [the book] is a solidly engaging read, chock full of challenging, well-considered articles. The theories and opinions offered in the book are, like the VPS itself, disparate—yet somehow connected."
- John Sewell, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA, in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly
Acknowledgements. Introduction: The Virtual Transformation of the Public Sphere Gaurav Desai. 1. The Right to Look Nicholas Mirzoeff 2. Democracy, the Public Sphere, and Problems of Self-reflexivity R. Radhakrishnan 3. On the Market Colonization of the Virtual Public Sphere Lewis R. Gordon 4. Cyberspace and Post-modern Democracy: A Critique of the Habermasian Notion of the Public Sphere K. M. Johnson 5. Cybernecology: Liberation Aesthetics and the Public Sphere Timothy Allen Jackson 6. The Ever-expanding Sphere of Cybercommunities Sukhdeep Ghuman 7. The Public Sphere: Restitution for the Internet James J. Winchester 8. Piracy as Tactics: Re-imagining Creativity as Forms of Access Aruni Mahapatra 9. The Internet as a Public Sphere: The Emergence of New Forms of Politics in India Esha Sen Madhavan 10. Virtual Activism, Real Repercussions: How Facebook Impacts the Public Sphere Hiba Aleem 11. Negotiating Virtual Terrain: New Social Media and the Public Intellectual Sumedha Iyer 12. Virtualization of the Politics of Recognition: Lepcha Struggle for Recognition as PTG in Darjeeling Hills (West Bengal) and Sikkim, India Padam Nepal 13. Identity and Virtual Spaces among the Zo hnahthlak: Emergent Zo Cyberpolitics Anup Shekhar Chakraborty 14. The Public Spheres of Vicarious Fulfilments: Live Sex on the Internet and the Performative Dynamics of Body and Sexuality Bini B. S. 15. Is the New Media Erasing Boundaries or Erecting Barriers? Gay/Transgender vs. Kothi/Aravani Sunita Manian 16. Anonymity and Online Interaction: A Thematic (Dramaturgical) Perspective Mallika Vijaya Kumar and P. E. Thomas 17. Constructing New Mediated Knowledge in the Process of Writing for Life Rich Rice 18. Changed Dimensions of the Public Sphere: Media’s Role in the Growth of Learning Pankaj Roy. Bibliography. About the Editor. Notes on Contributors. Index
Gaurav Desai is Associate Professor of English at Tulane University, New Orleans.