India’s Journals Focus, May 2017

India’s Journals Focus

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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Session 1

Changing Aspects of Governance

Prof. Satyajit Singh

Satyajit SinghThe first session of Day 4 of the capacity building workshop saw Prof. Satyajit Singh from the Department of Political Science, Delhi University deliberating on the future challenges of governance in his lecture titled ‘Changing Aspects of Governance.’

Broadly, governance is a technical term, which has an administrative and economic underpinning and not so much related with communication. However, the architecture with which communication and information is managed in bureaucracy, has a bearing with the linkages of administration and control. Although people’s participation forms the bedrock of good governance, the bureaucracy has quite a different understanding of participation. Although the bureaucracy talks about participation, they usually would have already designed the terms and conditions of that participation. Therefore, Prof. Singh says, there is mere tokenism in the name of participation.

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Prof. Singh dwelled on the importance of managing issues of public affairs and underlined different traditions of democracy right from the Greek tradition of Athenian democracy to Indian democracy. He also spoke on the newer debates surrounding managing institutions, particularly the debate on whether institutions should be decentralized or recentralized. Drawing on lessons from the lost decade in Africa in the 1980s, the idea finally surfaced that issues of governance should be looked at in a wider perspective, which goes beyond government administration and into spaces like civil society, private sector and even women’s groups. So, the definition of governance is widened to include not just the government but broader parameters for inclusive growth. Secondly, the push for a uniform paradigm of governance came from the capitalists’ desire to have all government institutions to be similar all over the world. The collapse of the Berlin Wall gave us an opportunity of rethinking about governance, in ways that were not clouded in ideology but emphasized on people’s rights. Therefore, in such a system, economic development became very important, free flow of capital, people with knowledge became very important and as a result what was required was an operating system in governance. Therefore, the experience of structural adjustment learning, dominance of official neo-liberalism, collapse of communist regimes and rise of pro-democracy movements around the world led to the concept of New Public Service.

This paradigm, which apparently is more democratic in nature wherein the state enjoys legitimacy and authority, is derived from a democratic mandate and is built on the liberal notion of a clear separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers. This new paradigm puts the focus back on the citizen in all administrative decision-making, rather than treating them as mere customers, seeks to enlarge public interest, values citizenship over entrepreneurship and prescribes a model of public affairs that thinks strategically and acts democratically. This model, Prof. Singh says, is appropriated from the western democracies, which seeks to link development assistance by foregrounding the ideas of participatory development, human rights and democratization. The shift in focus between the World Bank’s definition of governance that emphasized on the exercise of political power to manage a nation’s affairs to the United Nation’s definition of the same, which widened the ambit of governance to include inclusivity, rule of law, effective and efficient, equitable, responsive, accountable, transparent and consensus-oriented. He enumerated various types of governance in currency around the world, particularly focusing on the Manila and Johannesburg models of governance to underline the dichotomy between public interest and private interest.

Prof. Singh also spoke on key dimensions for reforms in governance, namely through public sector management, greater accountability, designing legal frameworks for development and employing systems to ensure greater information and transparency mechanisms. He finally touched upon the concept of meta-governance that focuses on priority-setting, soft laws, maintaining the golden thread and performance management in a world where the Weberian system of state has failed and hybrid systems have taken over.

Session 2

Anti-Plagiarism: Use of an Anti-Plagiarism Tool (Turnitin)

Mr. Muzaffar Azim

Muzaffar AzimMr. Muzaffar Azim introduced the concept of Plagiarism and how plagiarism can be identified and analysed using the software Turnitin. Turnitin has been used by numerous academic professionals, teachers, researchers and students all over the world to maintain academic integrity in case of writing of Dissertations, Theses, academic articles etc. Mr. Azim pointed out that in today’s world when everything was being digitized plagiarism, could not only affect the publications and their authors in today’s world but what had been done in the past. In the past when information was not digitized then people indulging in plagiarism had used to usually get away with it. Now with vast digital repositories being accumulated everyday, people indulging in plagiarism will have difficulty in doing so.

Turnitin is a web based tool which can be used to see and analyse the amount of text that has been borrowed from other sources. The software runs on a subscription based model and hence, access to the software has to be purchased. The software need not be downloaded and can be used by logging on to with a valid user-id and password. This internet based software is a tool that helps to locate the text that has been sourced and used in a certain publication which helps one to locate whether such texts have been properly cited, acknowledged and referred to. The tool becomes instrumental in self-evaluation so that before research papers or other academic content is submitted for publication can be checked for the authenticity of the content and if it is arranged properly.

Audience 2When the content is uploaded in Turnitin, a live report is generated. That report is an interactive one and the parameters of the check can be changed according to the criteria needed. The live report displays the percentage of the text that has been sourced from other texts. The tool does ignore the quoted texts thus making the task a bit easier while sieving the content. However the tool only shows the matches. Whether those matches have been referred or not, has to be done by the one who is checking, the supervisor in case of a Mphil/PhD scholar or the teacher in case of class assignments. In case the person who is checking the content, does not want the content to be available for all, due to certain reasons, the tool provides an option for deleting the content as well.

After giving an idea how the web-based software operates, Mr. Azim gave a hands-on training on the use of Turnitin. The participants uploaded content on the website to see how the tool operates.

Session 3

Film Studies and Material Culture

Prof Ravi Vasudevan

Ravi VasudevanProf Ravi Vasudevan of CSDS talked about the idea of archives in films. He stated at the beginning of the lecture that Archives are not simply about the past but about the future as well. He made some key points in the beginning of the lecture. He mentioned about the associated materials that would come out along with and on the films, for example the song books. Also that initially the film industry did not value maintaining an archive of the films in the beginning, thus the celluloid rolls of the films were not preserved thus making the content of yore hard to get. However the gap in the archival records has been filled by the private collectors. The Rosamuthaiah Library in the outskirts of Chennai is a case in point. The material of the archives has been mostly VHS cassettes rather than celluloid films. Now a vast repository of digital films is being stored for posterity. There are institutions now which are exclusively trying to create well-organised archives making use of technology. One of them is Indian copyright laws state that the films are having copyright for 60 years after which it becomes open for all until and unless someone buys control of the content. Jadavpur University has developed a mechanism of annotating films so that they can be used for informed viewing. In today’s age the digitality of the production of the content has added a new dimension to the saving of the archival materials.

Prof. Vasudevan then moved on to discussing the nuances of earlier film making. The silent films that were screened in the silent film era, were not silent per se. There used to be individuals who would give commentary along with the silent films. They were the sutradhars of the films. Sometimes a single person would be the sutradhar, the hall owner as well the usherer in a film screening. Prof. Vasudevan then came to the idea of viewership in the realm of movies and cinema. He pointed out that how it is different from the idea of readership. Spectatorship occupies a different position to that of readership.

AudienceIn the early cinema it was the one shot setup in India. These were the films that were made very early. The films that were made initially in India, followed the traditions of “Dastan” and “Darshan”. Darshan had led to mythological points of origins which led to the mythological films. On the other hand, the Dastan had influences of Parsi Theatre and Arabian Nights style of story-telling. Religious experiences have always been associated with the Indian Films. The films which were seen as impure, adopted the mythological characters as a route to make them acceptable to the public. Now that religiosity can be seen in the form of Fans of the Heroes. It has been seen and researched extensively in the southern part of India. S.V. Srinivas and M S S Pandian are to name a few. The idea of fandom can be seen from the perspective that the Film Star becomes a representative of the Fan watching it. The star imaginatively represents the public.

Towards end of his lecture, Prof Vasudevan gave a practical idea about analysing films. He took an early film which has shown the idea of showing Vishnu and the devotees thronging to him for his blessings. The film clearly shows the caste divisions and in the end integrates them. Thus the film operates as a site of both division and integration. He then brings under his lens of analysis the film Sant Tukaram, a marathi film of the 1930s. The one-shot narrative now becomes multiple-shots narrative. He also brings an example of Dharmputra, a Yash Chopra Film to show how films became the site of nation-building. In the film, the idea of identity has been interrogated and tried to be located in a certain context. Thus, cinema can complicate the idea of identity.

Session 4

Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics

Dr. Sahana Udupa

The last session of the day was a discussion on the book Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics written by Dr. Sahana Udupa of Central European University, Hungary. She spoke on the process of writing the book which was an ethnographic work conducted in Bangalore. She narrated her experiences of conducting interviews with journalists of the English and Kannada-language print news media. She emphasized on the fact that it was essential for a researcher to learn the language of those among whom she had to conduct her field-work.

The local language gives the researcher an entry into the everyday utterances which cannot be completely grasped in the translation into English. She shared how her knowledge of Kannada helped her in grasping the colloquial expressions and how the same enriched the narrative and argument of the book.

Capacity-building Workshop on Media and Communication Studies-19 April 2017

Session 1

Communication Research in India: Trends and Perspectives

Prof. Biswajit Das

Prof. B. DasProf. Biswajit Das unfolded the historical trajectories of communication research which provided the framework to understand the contemporary research in this field of enquiry. He started the lecture by posing some fundamental questions with respect to the purpose and methods of the communication research. Why does one take up the communication research? As a research scholar of communication studies one should be clear about her purpose of the research whether it is to legitimize State’s projects or Media Company or it is for the critical social reflection and contribution of the knowledge. The primary step of any research is to trace the trends of the research. This exercise is necessary to understand research gaps and not to be confined to the ‘event-oriented’ research.

Past research trends are not exclusive from the present trends and there are continuities, therefore, Prof Das described a broader outline of thematics of the communication since pre-communication days. We know comparatively less about pre-colonial research as documentation processes started in the colonial period. Post 1950s the village became one of the prominent sites of communication research all over the world. Village studies came up in the 1950s and one of the noted among them is D N Mujamdar’s work on Caste and Village Life. In the 1950s and 1960s, impact assessment of mass communication and opinion-research picked up. The methodological watersheds emerged with the usage of compilation and documentation as primary techniques.

Next phase of communication research largely came up through the state-led ‘community development programme’ which was largely sponsored by the Cornell University, USA. It is in this phase that ‘Communication’ turned into a category to be measured and it was considered as an external input for development. In the 1970s under the name of ‘extension’ research, the communication research covered the range of issues including agriculture, family planning and rural development. The terms like ‘development’, ‘technology’, ‘facility’ got the currency and these studies were conducted under statist control. Thus, the first generation of communication research kept several crucial research questions of communication and social structure formations out of its purview.

Post 1990s witnessed the arrival of new actors in producing and managing communication. The questions about ICT and Governance came to the centre-stage. According to Prof Das, the three rudiments of present era are right to communicate, discrepancy between human ability and need to communicate and right to privacy. Recent studies are dominated by the paradigms of mass communication and interpersonal communication.

Prof Das emphasised the need to historicise the communication research and approaching it from the history as a method perspective. Media-centric and sectoral approach misses out these historical details and therefore engagement with the archival methods forms a pre-requisite in the communication research. The proliferation of media technologies further deviated and narrowed its engagement with a ‘medium perspective’ without realizing the fact that these media are concerned with communication across society. He calls our attention to lack of philosophical and theoretical engagements with the communication scholarship and research in India. Though there are some efforts to bring ethnographic and historic methods to the communication studies, it is still under-theorized in social sciences and un-theorized in the realm of communication research.

Session 2

History, Culture and Identity: A Communication Perspective

Prof. Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay

Shashi Bhushan UpadhyayProf. Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay, Professor of History with Indira Gandhi National Open University delivered a lecture on “History, Culture and Identity: A Communication Perspective”.

Revolving around the four fundamental terms “History, Culture, Identity and Communication”, Prof. Upadhyay provided a detailed account of the evolution of human societies from hunting and gathering to pastoral to agricultural to industrial and the patterns of communication during every stage. Communication, according to Prof. Upadhyay, can be physical and non-physical. Among the non-physical, the speaker mentioned the importance of voice-box and put forth examples showing how sounds can be joined to make words, and this mode of communication existed during the past. However, it is this communication that led to the formation of society. This became apparent when Prof. Upadhyay mentioned: “the more complex the communication, the more complex the society”. This ‘complex’ is further understood as the cultural development of society (macro) rather than the biological development of an individual (micro). This also apparently means that the development of society goes hand in hand with the development of communication system.

Prof. Upadhyay also shed light on the development of communication from oral-communication and transportation as a means of communication (using domestic animals and later ships for communication) in simple societies to the developed communication system (such as communication through print, communication through manual writing,) in the pre-modern societies to well developed communication system (through technological advancement) in the contemporary societies. Following this, the speaker briefed about the role of communication in changing societies. The formation of communities acts as the participatory spaces for its members to exchange information, participation being fundamental outcome of the community formation. It is through this participation that members of a community interact, inform and get informed, accumulate knowledge, make decisions and tackle their problems.

Lastly, the speaker offered details about the communication revolution post Second World War which predominantly surfaced out of the industrial revolution where Prof. Upadhyay mentioned the means of communication such as telegraph and radio and later telephone, cinema and railways.

Session 3

Reviewing the Research Literature

Dr. Manisha Sethi

Manisha SethiIn the last session of the day, Dr. Manisha Sethi, Assistant Professor, Centre for Comparative Religions and Civilizations, Jamia Millia Islamia dealt with the following aspects on literature review:

I. Need of carrying out literature review

  1. To start writing down the research problem- the researcher should be aware of the kinds of materials available on the field under study. In present scenario, most of the works are interdisciplinary in nature, so the researcher needs to look for multiple sources for carrying out literature review.
  2. The Gap factor By carrying out effective literature review, the researcher can assess the existing gap prevailing in the study. It also provides an opportunity to assess the weakness of the argument of earlier studies. In terms of adding knowledge to the discipline, one should be aware about the prevailing gap in the discipline.
  3. To be aware of the debates and the kinds of arguments within the field one should carry out literature review.

II. Various types of literature review

  1. Review of Arguments: The researcher should make reviews of various arguments that exist in the knowledge system for correlation purpose.
  2. Looking at the histories of genealogies of the concept: The whole genealogies to be traced and how the concept has emerged through the writings of various authors.
  3. Methodology Review: The researcher needs to assess what are the various methods by which such a conclusion arrived at.
  4. Theoretical orientation is needed on the topic, which the researcher is discussing.

III. Different ways of writing literature review

  1. Most of the students commits mistake by providing summary of the argument. Mere summary adds nothing. It should be a synthesis and well integrated approach of various kinds of elements, methodologies, theoretical frameworks and ideas that researcher employs in the research process. Reading helps in synthesizing various arguments of the authors.
  2. Taking down notes is also one of the important parts of literature review. It helps the researcher to note down the ideas that is being generated in his or her mind while reading the text. A researcher is generally advised to have a systematically prepared index of the literature to be reviewed as well as a diary to jot down her personal comments on the literature under review.


Capacity-building Workshop on Media and Communication Studies-20 April 2017

Session 1 : Changing Aspects of Governance by Prof. Satyajit Singh

Session 2 : Anti-Plagiarism: Use of an Anti-Plagiarism Tool by Mr. Muzaffar Azim

Session 3 : Film Studies and Material Culture by Prof Ravi Vasudevan

Session 4 : Making News in Global India: Media, Publics, Politics by Dr. Sahana Udupa

Capacity-building Workshop on Media and Communication Studies-19 April 2017

Session 1 : Communication Research in India: Trends and Perspectives by Prof. Biswajit Das

Session 2 : History, Culture and Identity: A Communication Perspective by Prof. Shashi Bhushan Upadhyay

Session 3 : Reviewing the Research Literature by Dr. Manisha Sethi

Original Source : The Indian Medialogue..Thank’s..

Monthly Archives : July 2017

Monthly Archives: May 2017

Narratives on Contemporary India, “Constitutional Morality and Revolutionary Praxis”


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