Date of Award

Spring 5-17-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Polly E. McLean

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Skewes

Third Advisor

Michael Tracey

Fourth Advisor

Karen Tracy

Fifth Advisor

William Wei

Abstract

This study deals with the media representations of Indian Maoism based in the Dandakaranya forest region of central India. The aim is twofold: a) to examine the role of media in conflict, and b) situate Maoism in public imagination within the broader context of the Indian democracy. The following research questions guide the research explorations: 1) How do Hindi journalists make meaning of their news-making practices while reporting on Maoism in central India? 2) How do Hindi readers understand this news construction? 3) How is Indian Maoism represented in the Hindi news pages before and during Salwa Judum attack?

Through participant observation, interviews with key informants, focused group discussions and an analysis of news narratives, I argue that the rise of the Hindi press as vernacular modernity and conditions of conflict specific to Chhattisgarh enable a reporting culture of balance and silence. A resulting hybrid news content on Indian Maoism brings forth narratives, sensitive to local needs. Through their own literacy, rural news readers are able to appreciate and question aspects of this reporting culture.

This study therefore examines the representation of Indian Maoism in the press and local imagination, using the lens of critical cultural studies to deconstruct the master narratives.

Available for download on Sunday, October 31, 2021

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