ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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World-Class Aspirations

The New Middle Class of India

India's Middle Class: New Forms of Urban Leisure, Consumption and Prosperity by Christiane Brosius (New Delhi: Routledge), 2010; pp xvii + 381, Rs 795.

Globalisation’s cultural face in India has sparked enormous interest among anthropologists and media scholars, spawning a growing body of literature on the spectacular visual-cultural idioms of new global connections. Many studies locate these cultural changes within the rapidly transforming megacities of India, and explore the “new middle class” as the locus of changes.

This is not without reason. Across many Indian cities, we have seen a dramatic rise of new lifestyles and new forms of work and leisure, embraced by a distinct class of urban Indians with transnational ties and high disposable incomes. The aspiration of leading India into a new world of global possibilities creates a climate of optimism and confidence, at least among a section of the new urban middle class. Nuanced studies remind us that this class group cannot be stereotyped through the trope of optimism, but should be explored with a critical eye on how the discourse of “New India” gains ground and entrenches everyday lives and life strategies of millions in India ostensibly aspiring to become a part of this group.

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