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American Ethnologist

News media and contention over “the local” in urban India

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ABSTRACT

Exploring the highly competitive bilingual news field in urban India, I illustrate how localization of news content has led to conflictual discourses around who should constitute “the local” and for what end. Mediatized contests over “the local” frame urban politics along linguistic and cultural divides, articulated through populist challenges to neoliberal media discourses of “the global local.” In turning a critical eye to these mediatized contests, I extend the recent emphasis on the need to “ground” globalization studies and explore the concrete ways in which globalization imprints itself on local spaces. I argue that local and global formations are embedded in the dynamics of news fields in ways that elude generalized claims advanced by pessimists of cultural homogeneity as well as by optimists of local resistance.

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