Contemporary Gurus in Indian Classrooms: Changing Professorial Authority and Cultural Tensions in Managing Digital Connectivity

Uttaran Dutta, Pauline Hope Cheong, Robert Shuter


In an environment of increasing digitalization and hyperconnectivity among Indian youths, this article examines the communication practices of professorial authority and the cultural tensions negotiated by college instructors as they intervene to manage digital connectivity and distractions in the Indian academe. Findings from interviews with 66 Indian professors illustrate how they communicate their authority using distinctive practices such as discursive norms, dialogic interactions, and verbal and nonverbal punishments. Furthermore, findings highlight how these instructors navigate cultural tensions as they face the dialectics of their status as privileged or disadvantaged and cultural similarities and differences in their management of their students’ attention and learning in college classrooms. The results of this study contribute to deepening insights on instructional and intercultural communication as well as broadening understanding of cross-cultural similarities and differences in teacher-student interactions in mediated learning environments.


Indian classroom, hyperconnectivity, authority of instructors/ gurus, intercultural communication dialectics, instructional communication

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