News for Consumer Citizens: Corporate Pressure, Political Criticism and Middle Class Assertion in the Indian Media

Main Article Content

Ursula Rao


Mass media have always played a crucial role for negotiating the image of the nation. This holds true also for India. My article reflects changes in the Indian media market and examines how reshaped media outlets contribute towards generating fresh images of the nation for public consumption. The focus is on English language newspapers which are consumed by the growing Indian middle classes. How do newspapers influence the relation between commerce and politics and shape its public images? The case study elaborates the role journalists play towards shaping a public culture that devalues politics and hails consumerism. I argue that in a high pressure corporate environment reporters find a new voice as political commentators while accommodating within a discursive formation that promotes positive thinking about corporations, markets and commodities. News articles are an uneasy compromise that implement companies’ directives, realise a critical political ethos and expresse a longing for a new India.

Article Details

Indian Ocean Traffic Special Issue January 2012 (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Ursula Rao, School of Social Sciences University of New South Wales

Ursula Rao is Associate Professor in Sociology & Anthropology at the University of New South Wales. Her research focuses on urban India and she has written about Hindi and English language journalism, urban politics and ritual theory. Some of her recent English language publications are News as Cultures. Journalistic Practices and the Remaking of Indian Leadership Traditions (2010, Oxford: Berghahn); Making the Global City. Urban Citizenship at the Margins of Delhi (Ethnos 74(4): 402-424.).