Why is PETA Anti-Tamil
Deleuzian and Guattarian Approaches to Contemporary Communication Cultures in India
Bodies, Spaces, Controls and Contestations
Bodies as Sites of Protests: The Case of Two Desiring Machines That Liberated Controls
Inquilab, a popular Tamil poet and activist, whose angry poems on human rights violations are popular among all strata of Tamil society, died on December 1, 2017. As desired by him, his body was donated to the Chengalpattu Government Medical College Hospital. A born Muslim, who practiced secular values, he wished to donate his body after his death to medical research. A couple of years ago, in a remote village of Tamil Nadu, Thirunalkondacheri (Thirunalkondacheri is a village in the Nagappattinam District of Tamil Nadu.), A young dalit lawyer went to Madras High Court seeking the state's permission to take the dead body of his grandfather in a procession through the main streets of the village to the graveyard, in deference to the wishes of his grandfather. The court granted permission as desired by the petitioner. In both the cases, the bodies have been kept as sites of protests to fight against the state policies, religious practices and deeply rooted caste discriminations. Deleuze and Guattari describe the body as a network of material forces in tension with one another and present the body as a desiring machine ’, whose spiritual vitality is creative. Bodies, through their combinations and struggles, are the productive forces of reality. Bodies appear as purely relational entities continuously shaped, united and divided by power relations since bodies are both the agents and the vectors of power onto which power exerts and inscribes themselves. Deleuze argues that one's self must be conceived as a constantly assemblage of forces, an epiphenomenon arising from chance confluences of languages, organisms, societies, expectations, laws, etc., (Stagoll in The Deleuze dictionary. Edinburgh University Press Ltd., Edinburgh , 2010). As Grosz (Volatile bodies — Toward a corporeal feminism. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, 1994) argues, 'a refiguring of the body moves from the periphery to the center of analysis, so that it can now be understood as the very' stuff ' of subjectivity. The refiguring is important, as it radically transforms our understanding of experience as something cognitive to something corporeal. Deleuze and Guattari (A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Athlone Press, London, 1988) characterize a social field in terms of a 'machinic assemblage' and a 'collective assemblage of enunciation'.This chapter analyzes the becomings of the two bodies ( Inquilab's and the dalit's grandfather) in the light of Deleuzian and Guattarian principles of becoming and control.
Jallikattu Uprising: Rhizomatic Spatialities, Protesting Bodies and Controls
This chapter seeks to understand the spatial contexts of protests and the controls they evoked during the Jallikattu uprising between 8 January 2017–23 January 2017, on the sands of the second longest beach in the world, Marina, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The protests were triggered by the ban on the post-harvest ritual sport of Jallikattu by the Supreme Court of India, in judgments supporting the pleas of ABWA (Animal Welfare Board of India) in 2014 (India Kanoon, 2014) and PETA, the international animal rights NGO, in 2016 (The Hindu, 2016). Jallikattu is observed to thank the elements of nature, in particular, the cattle which helped the farmers during the periods of cultivation and harvest. Jallikattu is held mostly during the harvest festival of Tamils, Pongal, in the Tamil month of Thai [mid-January-mid-February]. The ritual brings together humans and animals in celebration of mutual love and affection. The underlying logic of the ritual sport is meant to protect the native breeds of bulls and cows while keeping their genetic lines intact, beneficial and the economy of the rearing of bulls advantageous. The ritual sport is endemic to the areas in and around Madurai district. Two important venues of Jallikattu are Alanganallur and Palamedu. In other parts of Tamil Nadu, divergent versions such as Manjuviratu are played. These versions are held until the month of April in several districts. While Jallikattu is held in a semi-amphitheater environment, where the skills of the bulls and youth are tested severely in a rather controlled semi-closed / open environment; In the case of Manjuviratu, the men are supposed to chase the bulls in the open spaces of the villages. Jallikattu players do not harm the animals. They only hug the hump of the bull to control it. But in Spanish bullfight, the bull is stuck with weapons and is killed after the fight. What happens to human bodies protesting for the cause of non-human bodies (native cattle) in spaces which have become emblematic of the post-Deleuzian control societies? The focus of this chapter is determined by this question and the possible observations. The least possible outcome in such an attempt is the emphatic answer, in the binary mode, which has to be resisted and erased. The paper argues that as the protests themselves appeared from nowhere, the answers cannot be expected to come from somewhere. This paper employs the Deleuzian and Guattarian (A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. P. Xvi, 1987) notions of rhizome alongside the notions of production of space by Lefebvre (The production of space. Malden, MA : Blackwell, 1991) to conceptualize the framework of 'rhizomatic spatialities' in order to gainfully understand the spatial, ritual and communication locations of the uprising, which was source by force by the local police on 23 January 2016 in Marina beach and several protest locations across the state.
Body and Nation: Contesting Spaces and Narratives of Nationalism
Contemporary India is witnessing interesting shifts in its socio-political, economic and cultural structures. India’s demographic patterns are changing, so are its social identities and political affiliations. A site that has been witnessing these changes in a radical manner is the body of the citizen. In a post-colonial environment, nation and national identity emerge as strong identity markers and India has been transforming itself through its discourses on national identity. Tropes of national identity have gained in prominence and public debates on the same crowd media spaces, both in India and abroad. In a neoliberal capitalistic world, discourses around identity have a significant role to play and the Indian context emerges as a complex one with its debates on national identity and the citizen’s body as a site for nationalist discourses. Deleuze and Guattari (A Thousand Plateaus. Bloomsbury, London, New York, Oxford, New Delhi and Sydney, 1988) envisioned the capitalist society in its rhizomatic structure and the multiplicities of assemblages transforming social structures rapidly in the new age. This chapter will use the concept of societies of control and micro-fascism to analyze and comprehend the changing Indian identity and the emergence of the citizen’s body as the site of contestation. Incidents reported across India compel us to look at both human and non-human beings being manipulated to create identities that challenge several existing ideological patterns. It is also interesting to note the manner in which the body also becomes a subversive site for resistance, working against the hegemonic structures. This chapter will examine Indian society at the level of micro-politics and seek to understand the shifts and responses to the new paradigms of nationalism through the works of Deleuze and Guattari.
Political Enactments, Controls and Intuition as Communication
In the view of this chapter, contemporary communication culture in India has to be reviewed with the philosophies of Deleuze and Bergson. Deleuze says that the control mechanisms have no variations as they represent mostly a numerical language in the form of codes, which is used for reading information or dismissing it. In India, controls operate in such a way that the state forces the customs and culture of people in a particular mold and the communication systems follow suit. This chapter examines the contemporary political enactments in India and the influence of the same on the citizens. The news, events, reports, stories and all forms of exchanges through media are not the only communicative materials subjected to controls, but the personal interchanges are also codified and enclosed in the regulations of control society. This chapter tries to establish how intuition can be a reliable state of communication and how the correspondence occurs in this state. This chapter tries to analyze the concept of intuition through Deleuzian and Bergsonian models to see how it can naturally become a method of alternative communication.
Resistance and Affective Power
Understanding Power: Communicating Resistance
Electoral politics in India has become a signifier of democracy to the exclusion of all other values expected of a fair and just political system. In the political jostle for power, there is a disconnect between the “will of the people”, and the majoritarian outcomes arrived at through electoral math. Indian polity, since independence, was characterized by a rich tapestry of political contestation ranging from extreme right to extreme left, with the center-left of Nehruvian ideology in power till the mid-1980s. Though contested deeply, the constitutional values of free speech and association formed the base for political contestation. Following the globalization project and the liberalization of the economy in 1990s, the political center of gravity began to shift rightward, delegitimizing left of center politics. The political spectrum that is on the ascendant is from far right to center-right with the left and center-left politics attacked as anti-national. The political discourse is no longer within the bounds of constitutional values of free speech and free association. Corporate media and social media play a central role in shrinking the space for dissent in an effort to limit the range of political discourse to center-right and far right, erasing all non-right discourse from the public sphere. There are counter-narratives attempting to challenge this hegemony, through newer strategies of resistance to power. This chapter argues that if justice and equality for all are accepted as the basic principles of democracy, the existing spaces for dissent and debate must be defended and expanded. A majority vote in periodical elections is no indicator of a robust democracy.
Affective Milieus and Singing Bodies in a Social Musical App
This chapter reveals how Smule, a social-music application, de-territorializes music from the canons of professional territories, performers and milieus. The app is a site of an assemblage of musical composition comprising overlapping events. The musical score, already composed and databased, reconnects with new singing bodies (To Deleuze, bodies are de-stratified and comprise both human and non-human machines). In this context of users appropriating Smule, they become singing bodies through their interrelations and assemblages with music; the features of the interface, the affective potentialities of the app and that of users; In addition to singing, searching the database and pairing with already existing music bodies to compose the duet song. These singing bodies are bodies without organs [BwO]) that reconfigure popular music, besides unfolding the emergent potentiality of affective work engendered by the becoming musical performances of amateur singers. The becoming-music in Smule is performed through relations between the human and the non-human, the material and the immaterial bodies. The assemblage of these bodies enunciates and exhibits affective tendencies and attunements. Musical performances enacted through singing along with the materialities of the interface of the app re-ontologize music in Smule. Further, the musical bodies (an assemblage of singing bodies and sonic materialities), recode milieus and events with new formations and becomings of music. While the sonic patterns are repeated, singing as an event in the different milieus of the app produces variations and differences.
Curating an Affective Push: Indian Women’s Facebook Profile Pictures and their Affective Turns
The Facebook profile picture of an Indian woman has a specific affective turn in a digital environment. The digital life embodies immersions into bits governed by software and accessed through hardware. It is a lifestyle managed and reduced to bits of information that we store and exchange for our virtual existence. The digital space has expanded the range of the body beyond its biological existence. The participation in the virtual gives an openness to the body, where it is not just about what happens to bodies in encounters, but also what can it be made to do in mixed reality. The digitized curation of a women’s profile picture on social media caters to a culture of absent presence. This chapter engages with the functioning of absent presence in the digital representation of women’s bodies on Facebook in Bangalore. This explorative study portrays an assemblage of affect and sensory semiotics to explain the affective intensity of sensory mediation online and its interpretation in engaging with the concept of lack (absent) that is surrounded by desire and human representations (presence) (Deleuze and Guattari in Anti -Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Penguin Books, New York, 2009). Symbolism and its semiotic properties of curation were prioritized as the highest analytical concern for this study on Facebook profile pictures. The study showed that Indian women spend a significant amount of time and effort to create the perfect profile picture as part of an affective push they feel from their environment.
Subjectivities, Materialities and Controls
Discipline, Control and Children in Tamil Reality Television
Reality television programs that revolve around the lives of children and teenagers have become attractive to the audience of all ages, which is evident in their success across various channels and various demographics (Palmer in Stud Popul Cult 36: 123-143, 2013). Whether the children are secondary characters or central to the show, part of the appeal of the programming is the access it provides to the lives of minors (Neifeld in Hast Commun & Entertain Law 32: 123-143, 2010). In today's social and political scenario, we are in a situation to critically think about what is in the limelight and what is not? What takes the priority space in today’s media and what is kept as a secret? When “Me Too” campaigns gain momentum, why are children in the television industry not seen as victims? Tamil television industry's reality television production practices are examined in this chapter to discuss the threats to the well-being of children who are forced to work as child artists by their parents and peer pressure. Based on the author's inside experiences as a member of the production crews and the auto-ethnographic accounts that result from the same (besides in-depth interviews and focus group sessions with the child artists), this chapter maps distinct patterns of child abuse in Tamil reality television.
Materialities, Subjectivities and the Symbolic Spaces of Destruction and Hope in K. G. George’s Films
The theory of male gaze was first introduced by Laura Mulvey in her 1975 essay 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.' According to Mulvey (Screen 16: 6-18, 1975), cinema reflects the oblivion of patriarchal society and reinforces the notion that women are the subject of heterosexual male control and desire (Superson in Hypatia 26: 410-418, 2011). The function of cinema, according to Laura Mulvey, is to serve as a voyeuristic medium that encourages the audience to take pleasure from looking upon. Many Hollywood movies, especially the films of Hitchcock and Sternberg, were widely studied on the basis of this version of psychoanalytic theory. Subsequently, new sources for revitalizing feminist film theory emerged through performance studies, new media studies, phenomenology and Deleuzian philosophy. These are theoretical frameworks that move beyond the semiotic preoccupation with meaning, representation and interpretation. Taking Mulvey's analysis as its starting point, this chapter examines the specific techniques of the veteran Malayalam filmmaker, KG George's representation of women in his film Adaminte Variyellu (Adam's Rib) and men in Panchavadi Palam (Panchavadi Bridge) in order to suggest an alternative way of understanding the status of women and men in these works. In particular, this chapter aims to mobilize Gilles Deleuze’s work on cinema and other artistic media in order to argue the case that K. G. George’s films offer his characters a status that can be enjoyed by the spectator without any preconceived notions. The Deleuzian approach allows for a less negative outlook on desire, subjectivity and identity; opening up readings of film as embodying many forms of desire and creating experiences of affirmation for the spectator (Smelik in Wiley Blackwell Encycl Gend Sex Stud: 1-5, 2016).
Script, Stage and Transformation: (Re) Visiting Communication
Based on an action research project, this chapter is a reflective writing that follows a process of "practical philosophy", employing the philosophy of Deleuze and Guattari in an adivasi village, Rukrum, in the state of Jharkhand. It is indicative of a methodology that does not base itself upon a pre-decided method separated by disciplinary silos, but one that is contingent, emergent and indicative of new becomings. By bringing psychoanalysis and development to a creative dialogue through a process of scripting and performing, it lays the ground for a way (not the way) of disrupting the common-sensical way of "doing philosophy". The process of practical philosophy also allows us to reflect and revisit the form in which an adivasi community communicates with itself and the other, thereby leaving larger questions for contemporary communication cultures.
Politics and the Beyond: Communication in a Transformative Practice
These narrative statements show a journey; a journey from resistance throughressentiment driven outbursts to a patient reflection towards identifying the inner fascist; a journey which is not linear, but involves moving back and forth between the two positions and sometimes tangentially touching them and strolling on its own path; a journey which shows a different possibility of relating and communicating with the other. This chapter builds on an “action research” work in the village of Kuwapani, located in Bhanupratappur block of Uttar Bastar Kanker District in Chhattisgarh, India. The chapter does not only operate on the dyad between theory and practice, but also shows a movement between two specific kinds of practices, one guided by governance feminism and the other guided by schizopolitical becomings.addhi bottle tod do, daaru peena chhod do. (break the bottle of alcohol, stop drinking)Kya he faayda hua ye rally karna ka, ab hum man ko koi mand nahi dega. (what is the use of doing the rally, we will not get intoxicating drinks now)- Women of the village, Kuwapani
Identity, Struggles and Survival
Survival, Struggle and Identity in Dalit and Afro-American Literature
Amiri Baraka’s Obie winning play, Dutchman (1964), depicts entrenched race relations in the USA during the civil rights era of which the playwright had a firsthand knowledge. But, it does something more than that. Employing semi-absurdist techniques and a closed setting that often reminds one of the dramaturgy of Harold Pinter, the play shows troubled race relations at work that operates on many levels. This, nevertheless, brings in the issues of survival, identity, and struggle in Afro-American literature that has parallels with the dalit movement in India, particularly in Maharashtra, in the poetry of writers like Namdeo Dhasal, Baburao Bhagul and others. While the Black Panther Movement of the 1960s called for a recourse to violent techniques to change the status quo, similar ideology was also adopted by the Dalit Panthers to reinforce the oppressed dalit psyche and identity. This chapter would like to demonstrate these similarities from a Deleuzian – Guattarian perspective.
Subjectless Subjectivities in Nayeema Mahjoor’s Lost in Terror
This chapter, through a close reading of Nayeema Mahjoor’s novel, Lost in Terror, seeks to plot the entanglement of molar and molecular dimensions of power, the co-option of micro-regimes of desire in molar operations. The novel which engages with the fissures and traumatic rifts in the individual psyche lodged in a fractured political landscape wells up a host of affects which under the influence of ideological distortions ossifies into a congealed mass of violent sentiments. Under such circumstances, reengineering of the psyche in alignment with an inclusive social imaginary becomes integral in the liberation of the subjective consciousness from such inimical sentiments.
Swatee Sinha, Anjali Gera Roy
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