New Media Practices in India: Bridging Past and Future, Markets and Development

Anke Schwittay


This article provides a review of the academic and popular literature on new media practices in India, focusing on the country’s youth's use of mobile phones and the Internet, as well as new media prosumption. One particular feature of the Indian case is the confluence of commercial exploitation of new media technologies and their application for development purposes in initiatives that aim to bring these technologies to marginalized segments of the Indian population. Technology usage in turn is shaped by the socioeconomic location of the user, especially in regards to gender and caste. The potential of new media technologies to subvert such social stratifications and associated norms has inspired much public debate, which is often carried out on the Internet, giving rise to an online public sphere. In all of the writings reviewed here, the tension surrounding new media technologies as a meeting place of the old and the new in India is paramount.

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