The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India
158 Pages
English
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The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India

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Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
158 Pages
English

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A contemporary interpretation of neoliberalism’s effect on life in India, the politics of time and the preoccupation with youth, and relations between generations.


Has India’s shift to neoliberalism since the 1990s led to a heightened awareness of time and its passing, an intense preoccupation with youth, and anxieties over the relations between generations? ‘The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India’ discusses the politics of time that have emerged in popular discourses across cinema, television, print and consumer culture, arguing that contests over conceptions of time are, in fact, sites of battle between labour and capital.


Kapur shows how the recent political-economic shift in India is accompanied by a new emphasis on youth and a preoccupation with change, novelty and the acceleration of time. This perception of time is examined through an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on critical theory and cinema and media studies, as well as two concepts from Marxist-feminist theory. The first focuses on the notion of capitalist development as a systemic form of underdevelopment, which perpetuates a radicalised individualism while simultaneously erasing selfhood, as each life-time is reduced to homogenous, commodified units of time, each with a varying price dependent upon one’s position in the market. The second is the critique of the time-orientation of capitalism and its promise of freedom through novelty where, in fact, its reliance upon a system of private accumulation based on exploitation favours calculations of profits in the present over investing in the future. Together, these approaches shed light on India’s contemporary cultural politics, explaining how the country’s shift to neoliberalism is deeply intertwined with profound conflicts over conceptions of time, youth and the relations between generations. 


Acknowledgments; Introduction: After Me the Flood; Chapter 1: Brand India’s Biggest Sale: The Cultural Politics and Political Economy of India’s “Global Generation”; Chapter 2: Arrested Development and the Making of a Neoliberal State; Chapter 3: For Some Dreams a Lifetime is Not Enough: The “Rasa” Aesthetic and the Everyday in Neoliberalism; Chapter 4: An “Arranged Love” Marriage: India’s Neoliberal Turn and the Bollywood Wedding Culture Industry; Chapter 5: “Ek Haseenah Thi” (There Once Was a Maiden): The Vanishing Middle Class and Other Neoliberal Thrills; Conclusion; Notes; References; Index 

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Published 15 October 2013
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EAN13 9780857281135
Language English
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The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India
DIVERSITY AND PLURALITY IN SOUTH ASIA
TheDiversity and Plurality in South Asiaseries, wide in scope, will bring together publications in anthropology and sociology, alongside politics and international relations, exploring themes of both contemporary and historical relevance. This diverse line in the social sciences and humanities will investigate the plurality of social groups, identities and ideologies, including within its remit not only interrogations of issues surrounding gender, caste, religion and region, but also political variations, and a variety of cultural ideas and expressions within South Asia.
Series Editor Nandini Gooptu – University of Oxford, UK
ANTHEM GLOBAL MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION STUDIES
Anthem Global Media and Communication Studiesaims to advance the understandings of the continuously changing global media and communication environment. The series publishes critical scholarly studies and highquality edited volumes on key issues and debates in the field (as well as the occasional trade book and the more practical ‘howto’ guide) on all aspects of media, culture and communication studies. We invite work that examines not only recent phenomena in this field but also at studies which theorize the continuities between different technologies, topics, eras and methodologies. Saliently, building on the interdisciplinary strengths of this field, we particularly welcome cutting edge research in and at the intersection of communication and media studies, anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, telecommunications, public policy, migration and diasporic studies, gender studies, transnational politics and international relations.
Series Editors
Shakuntala Banaji – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK Terhi Rantanen – London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK
The Politics of Time and Youth in Brand India
Bargaining with Capital
Jyotsna Kapur
Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com
This edition first published in UK and USA 2013 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA
Copyright © Jyotsna Kapur 2013
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
British Library CataloguinginPublication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
Library of Congress CataloginginPublication Data Kapur, Jyotsna. The politics of time and youth in brand India : bargaining with capital / Jyotsna Kapur. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 9780857281098 (hardcover : alk. paper) – ISBN 0857281097 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. India–Social conditions–21st century. 2. Youth–India. 3. Branding (Marketing)–India. 4. Neoliberalism–India. I. Title. HC435.3.K363 2013 306.30954–dc23 2013032093
ISBN13: 978 0 85728 109 8 (Hbk) ISBN10: 0 85728 109 7 (Hbk)
Cover photo © Mike Covell 2010
This title is also available as an ebook.
For time flows on, and if it did not it would be a poor lookout for those who have no golden tables to sit at. Methods wear out, stimuli fail. New problems loom up and demand new techniques. Reality alters; to represent it the means of representation must alter too. Nothing arises from nothing; the new springs from the old, but that is just what makes it new. —Bertolt Brecht
If we are unable to build, and build in time, a socialist alternative worthy of the name, what capitalism now promises us is only a future of barbarism. And since the possibility of the destruction of our world itself cannot be ruled out, it could well be a future of no future at all. […] Yet, nothing is inevitable in human affairs until it happens. In the final analysis it is how we struggle and fight back that will decide our future. We can still make our future our own way, build it as a society of freedom and equality and a truly rich human life for us all – for that is what socialism is about. —Randhir Singh
[…] the world has long since dreamed of something of which it needs only to become conscious for it to possess it in reality. […] our task is not to draw a sharp mental line between past and future, but to complete the thought of the past. […] mankind will not begin any new work, but will consciously bring about the completion of its old work. —Karl Marx
Why fear, if in our desire for dawn we too are swallowed whole by this dark night? There will be some people, at least, who will live to see the bright morning. —Jagmohan Joshi
Acknowledgments
C
O
N
TEN
TS
ix
Introduction After Me the Flood 1 Chapter 1 Brand India’s Biggest Sale: The Cultural Politics and Political Economy of India’s “Global Generation” 21 Chapter 2Development and the Making Arrested of a Neoliberal State 49
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Conclusion
Notes References Index
For Some Dreams a Lifetime is Not Enough: TheRasaAesthetic and the Everyday in Neoliberalism
An “Arranged Love” Marriage: India’s Neoliberal Turn and the Bollywood Wedding Culture Industry
Ek Haseenah Thi(There Once Was a Maiden): The Vanishing Middle Class and Other Neoliberal Thrills
73
93
107 121
127 133 145
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This book has been a long time in the making and many people have shared in its journey. I wish to thank Beryl Langer, Sue Ferguson, Alan Sears, Elizabeth Chin, Robbie Lieberman, Robin Andersen, Toby Miller, Aarti Wani, Nandini Chandra, Samina Misra, Keith Wagner, Deborah Tudor and Eileen Meehan for their critical engagement and help in shaping this project. I must also thank my students for listening, challenging, and putting up with what must have appeared to be an obsession with space, time, cinema and capitalism. Their generosity remained undiminished in these days of imposed austerity from the top. Finally, my union, the SIUC Faculty Association, provided perspective, humor and a place to understand and challenge neoliberalism and its consequences for our young people. Then there are people with whom one goes back a long way, who have so helped shape my political and personal life that it would be impossible to isolate my own ideas from those developed with them. Professor Randhir Singh has remained my inspiration, including for this work. Even now, more than three decades since I sat in his classes on political theory at Delhi University, I draw upon the passion and clarity with which he made us see that another world was possible. Chuck Kleinhans, Vrinda Grover, Amar Kanwar, Savia Veigas, Myron Periera, O. P. Bakshi, Barry John and Sumit Sarkar and Tanika Sarkar will find themselves in these pages. It was just one long conversation with Dilip Simeon, but he made me see the centrality of the politics of time and helped bring this book to an end. As always, Nilim and Suhaila put up, with their usual humor and patience, with a mother who frequently lost track of time. Our home rings with laughter over forgotten errands and dates, including sometimes even the children’s ages. Perhaps, writing is a way to forget the invariable passing of time. I often thought of my father, an academic himself, telling my brother and me that teachers may not have a lot of money, but they had lots of time. And my parents knew how to make that time happy – filling our childhood with their comrades, laughter and adults who either spoke to us seriously or not at all. So, thank you Narinder Singh and Satinder Kapur
x
THE POLITICS OF TIME AND YOUTH IN BRAND INDIA
for that very honest childhood. And thanks to Ankur, Ajinder, Depinder, Mini, Satnam, Sumi and Sanjam, who make coming home still just as delightful. Mary and Dick Schuler, despite living far away, remain a constant presence. Mike Covell shared my life and, as in everything else, helped separate the fluff from the substance. It is just as much fun being at home with him as it is on the picket line. A Fulbright grant as well as a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend earned me the time to dedicate to this volume. Chapter 4 was first published inCommunication, Culture & Critique2, no. 2, (vol. pp. 221–33, 2009); Chapter 5 was published inVisual Anthropology(vol. 22,no. 2/3, p 155–66, 2009). Tye Wilson’s help with reproducing the images in this book and Suhaila Meera’s research assistance is much appreciated. I also wish to offer my heartfelt thanks to Tej P. S. Sood, Rob Reddick and Brian Stone at Anthem Press for their patience and encouragement. Finally, this book was vastly improved by the careful reading of the copyeditor, Meredith Ramey.