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

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Media, Gender and the Neo-liberal Indian State

Refashioning India: Gender, Media, and a Transformed Public Discourse by Maitrayee Chaudhuri, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2017; pp 325, ₹ 950.


Maitrayee Chaudhuri’s book, Refashioning India: Gender, Media and a Transformed Public Discourse is in several ways both a critique and chronicle of contemporary India after 1991 seen through its changing media landscape. Through her nuanced reading and analysis of the media paradigm, which undergoes a significant transition after India embraces liberalism, Chaudhuri lays out the pitfalls of the new economic model and its resultant impact on the Indian media ecosystem that is increasingly corporatised and serves the interests of the market or a handful who control the means of production. This has led to an erosion of credibility of the Indian media, and what better way to understand this than examine the Indian media scenario in current times which serves the interests of the ruling elite.

Chaudhuri’s book, as indicated in the title, also argues that a country cannot develop without the progress of women. She discusses at length the various confusions of the liberal Indian state and its position on women. While liberalism celebrates the individual’s rights, it is invariably the male property-owning individual who is at the focus of attention. The Indian liberal state has an uneasy equation with women individuals. Chaudhuri further probes the confusions typically characteristic of the Indian liberal state, which is wedded to equality on the one hand and patriarchal private property on the other. Women here are perceived as merely cultural symbols. With the advent of liberalism, women also disappeared from the discourse on development and entered the world of welfare. Chaudhuri further argues that the failure of the Indian state to bring about real and sustained changes for women led to the resurgence of the women’s movement in the 1970s.

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Updated On : 23rd Feb, 2020
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