Social Media Research Workshop, August 12, 2016


As part of the third and final cycle of Sarai’s Social Media Research Fellowship, since March this year, short-term research fellows have been studying different aspects of digital and social media. On Friday, 12 August, 2016 we are organising a workshop for the fellows to present and discuss their research with a select group of discussants. The workshop will be held at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, 29 Rajpur Road, Civil Lines.

Limited seats are available to take part in the workshop. To register, please fill up this form.

Below are the links to the research updates shared by the research fellows, and the schedule of the presentations.

Digital Networks and their Incremental Consumption within Informal Settlements

Swati Janu

“Though bereft of basic facilities such as sewage system or water supply, informal settlements in Indian cities have been rapidly permeated by networks of digital technology and media infrastructures. The highest internet usage here is through mobile phones – enabled by the rapid penetration of low-cost smartphones and low tariffs.The digital consumption in terms of data recharge or offline media purchases is largely incremental with daily recharges of Rs 10 – 30 instead of larger amounts over longer periods. This incremental nature of digital consumption is inherent to informality, be it in its physical manifestation as incrementally constructed houses or through transient capital in the form of daily wages and payments. It is this temporality of informality that I am interested in investigating further through the lens of consumption of digital media, linking to and building on my background in architecture and understanding of incremental housing in informal settlements…”

10 Rs Recharge: Incrementality in Digital Consumption within Informal Urban Settlements

Data, Downloads and Gaming Dens: Digital Networks in Informal Settlements

Mapping Sharing Networks and Cyber Corners in Informal Settlements

Daily Mobile Recharges to Water Tankers: Deconstructing the Infrastructure of Insecurity

A Practice Perspective on Technologies Used in Transportation Studies

Onkar Hoysala

“In this project I consider one area of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) research – modelling and simulation. Broadly, transport modelling and simulation could either be at the macro-level, micro-level, or the more recent meso-modelling. Macro simulations are used to study the system-level functioning of transport infrastructure. Micro-level simulations are used to study aspects such as lane discipline in a single or a group of networked roads. Meso-level simulations model travel related activities of people…”

A Practice Perspective on Technologies Used in Transportation Studies: Introduction

Data, Contextualisation, and Simulation Design: Findings from Pilot Interviews

The Case of the Missing Data

Context is King: Contextualisation of Models and Simulations

Broadcast to Broadband: Televisual Experiences in the Age of the Digital

Ritika Pant

“Netflix, the world’s most popular online streaming service launched in India this January elicited mixed reactions. While avid viewers of American and British TV series are thrilled by the move, cable operators and online service providers like HOOQ and Ogle anticipate tough competition. Factoring in low internet bandwidth and monthly subscription fees, the success of Netflix in India is still a fuzzy picture at the moment. In an industry that is gradually moving towards digitization, this launch is clearly a game-changer for both television broadcasters and their audiences. Therefore, in this project, I seek to engage with the interactions between an older medium of broadcast (television) with a newer means of distribution (internet) and explore how this new interface is introducing us to what is termed as a “post-broadcast” moment…”

Broadcast to Broadband: Televisual Experiences in the Age of the Digital

Unbundling the Bundle: Distribution of Televisual Content via Broadband Services

Idiot Box to Smart TV? – Televisual Aesthetics in the Digital Realms

Fans without Borders: Tracing Transnational Digital Fandom on Television

Culture of ‘Downloading’ in Khandesh Region and the Story of Transfer of Media: An Auto-Ethnographic Study

Shiva Thorat

“Small scale industries such as downloading songs, images and videos using memory cards to store them and this process are is not visible. It is being practiced in the smallest regions such as Khandesh as well. Therein, the societal perspective with regard to this phenomena lies. The current study seeks to explore questions related to the application methods of small-scale labour downloading workers and their consumers…”

‘Culture of Downloading’ in Khandesh region and the Story of Transfer of Media – An Auto-Ethnographic Study

Identity and Download Culture: Revolution or Farce?

The Returned: The Rise of B Movie Cinephilia

Vibhushan Subba

“This project seeks entry into a “B” moment at the twilight of its existence. With the speedy folding of single screen theatres and shrinking exhibition spaces there was a feeling that the B-movie was headed towards a slow demise even in the circuits that it travelled in. It was in this period of uncertainty that a wave of cinephilic B-movie desire erupted across social media platforms that refused to let it slip into oblivion. It is this activity I propose to track and I begin by acknowledging this new community and the kind of activity I have mentioned above and hope to explore further by investigating the creation, nature and evolution of this cinephilia -which has produced a mobile and alternative archive – in order to understand the altered relationship between the producers of content and digital technology and stage a debate around censorship, ownership and alternative histories. For, it is only true that to a large extent what becomes part of cultural memory depends on the circulation of carefully constructed canons and archiving of cultural works that are considered to be part of the official history. But what of those outside the canon, the official archives and beyond the official history? Lurking beyond the official narratives are degraded, discarded and forgotten cultural objects like an emotion suspended in time. In this project, I propose to track the rise of a cinephilia centered around the obscure, the obscene, the feared and the forgotten…”

The Returned: The Rise of B-movie Cinephilia

Gunda, an unexpected journey: Tracking Cinephilia Undead

Digital Ghosts: Spectral Presences on YouTube

Embalming the Obscure: Unpacking Cinephilia Undead

Media and Mobilization: Digital Media and the Shia Public Sphere in West Bengal

Epsita Halder

“I have been working on the Shia communities in West Bengal for the last five years. During my travels in the urban and rural quarters, I have understood that digital culture, seeking to bind the spatially and socially multifarious Shia communities in a unitary notion of the community, ironically and unintentionally exposes much more. The reception and consumption-re-enactment of the digital culture, a reworking on/with it, actually fails to create a monolithic sense of the community, baring multiple identities and temporalities. The multifarious ways of consumption, reception and re-enactment of digitized texts open up possibilities to contextualize Shia communities with multiple intentions on how to become a community, shattering monolithic assumptions. These different configurations of the community’s intentions can also be studied through the lens of the community’s historical experience of migration and conversion. My project will try to locate digital culture in Shia districts of Bengal to understand identity formation of the community after the advent of new media. Engaging with this new visual-aural piety of these diverse modalities of transmission and reception, I will try to map and understand the new efforts to identify contemporary Shia communities…”

Media and Mobilization: Digital Media and the Shia Public Sphere in West Bengal

Mourning Martyrdom on Facebook: A Cyber Imagined Community

The Attentive Heart and Its Apparatuses – Facebook, Bluetooth, WhatsApp

Decree and Devotion: Sacred Property on Internet

Digital Identities: The Online Circulation of Bodo VCD Films and Music Videos

Ankush Bhuyan  

“This project aims to capture the current moment where social media intersects with VCD films and music videos, in their entirety or in the form of clips available online, and questions of Bodo identity. What is it to be Bodo? How does social media play a role in the formation and the consolidation of identities? Can the use of technology and aesthetics in the VCD films and music videos provide some insight on the above questions? Through this study I hope to shed some light on the use of social media that may link to larger questions from the region regarding identity, culture and circulation of mediatised images within a political movement…”

Digital Identities: The Online Circulation of Bodo VCD films and Music Videos

The Quest for Bodoland: Social Media in the Time of a Separatist Movement – Part One

The Quest for Bodoland: Social Media in the Time of a Separatist Movement – Part Two

Workshop Schedule

9:30 to 10 AM: Tea and Opening Remarks
10:00 to 10:40: Ritika Pant, Broadcast to Broadband: Televisual Experiences in the Age of the Digital
10:40 to 11:20: Onkar Hoysala, A Practice Perspective on Technologies Used in Transportation Studies
11:20 to 11:40: Tea
11:40 to 12:20: Swati Janu, Digital Networks and their Incremental Consumption within Informal Settlements
12:20 to 1:00: Shiva Thorat, Culture of ‘Downloading’ in Khandesh Region and the Story of Transfer of Media: An Auto-Ethnographic Study
1:00 to 2:00: Lunch
2:00 to 2:40: Epsita Halder, Media and Mobilization: Digital Media and the Shia Public Sphere in West Bengal
2:40 to 3:20: Ankush Bhuyan, Digital Identities: The Online Circulation of Bodo VCD Films and Music Videos
3:20 to 3:40: Tea
3:40 to 4:20: Vibhushan Subba, The Returned: The Rise of B Movie Cinephilia 
4:20 to 5:00: Closing Remarks and Discussion

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Published on: August 8, 2016


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