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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Streaming Culture, (Re)viewing Femininity: Youth, Nation and Popular Entertainment Shows in Hyderabad, India
by Verghese, Roshni Susana, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2019, 325; 13899536
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores young, urban Indian middle-class women’s affinity for and routine engagements with western entertainment television shows that have come to dominate a large portion of their daily leisure time. Set against the backdrop of rapid economic, technological and social changes taking place in India over the last three decades, this research spotlights the viewing experiences of urban, English- speaking, elite middle and upper class Indian women who are situated at the nexus of new gendered subjectivities, cultural shifts and global media flows. In doing so, this study responds to calls for increased research on media audiences in three arenas, namely transnational television studies, feminist media studies, and South Asian studies.

Located in the burgeoning metropolis of Hyderabad, this dissertation draws on interviews and non-participant and participant observations with forty-two young women and some of their family members and peers. Analyzing the central role that western popular media play in the daily lives of urban female millennial media audiences, the chapters of this study trace complex interplays among varying discourses of neoliberal cosmopolitanism, “respectable” modern femininity and hegemonic articulations of nationalism that structure the lifestyles and cultural identities of Indian youth.

Adopting a multi-disciplinary approach, this dissertation traces the evolution of the Indian television landscape and young women’s preferences for western shows, commencing with their early memories of foreign programming on Indian cable television and leading into their current engagements with global entertainment programming made available through formal and informal internet-driven media infrastructures. Young Hyderabadi women are attracted to the aspirational narratives of cosmopolitanism and models of femininity projected in western shows, and pointed generational differences emerge between the viewing practices and taste cultures of young women and their older family members who are still anchored to the traditional television set. However, as these new viewing trends represent a threat to patriarchal ideologies of feminine respectability and to the cohesiveness of middle-class family life, this dissertation also unearths some of the struggles young Indian women face in their pursuit of modern lifestyles, financial autonomy and independence from family.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Parameswaran, Radhika
Commitee: Bose, Purnima, Conway, Michael, Kelly, James, Weber, Brenda
School: Indiana University
Department: Mass Communications/Telecommunications
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Journalism, Mass communications, Womens studies, South Asian Studies
Keywords: Feminist media studies, Globalization, India, Popular culture, Television audiences, Youth cultures, Middle class, Hyderabad
Publication Number: 13899536
ISBN: 9781085619523
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