[CSH – IIITD Symposium] The broken mirror: Making sense of Indian politics on social media

[CSH – IIITD Symposium] The broken mirror: Making sense of Indian politics on social media

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The Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) and the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT-D)
are delighted to invite you to a 2-day digital symposium on:

The broken mirror – Making sense of Indian politics on Twitter, an Intermedium Perspective


Jean-Thomas Martelli (CSH) and Aasim Khan (IIIT-D)


 30-31 August 2021 from 1 pm to 4 pm IST


For registration kindly mail to: jtm.martelli@gmail.com OR aasim@iiitd.ac.in


The digital turn in political campaigning and communication in developing societies has made ethnographic, text and network analyses of social media a requirement for any comprehensive study of political behaviour and institutions. Within a span of five years, the use of social network services (SNS) and social media has more than tripled in India (CSDS 2019), while “experts” in online strategizing have become indispensable to any political venture. As a result, nearly half of the scholarship on phenomena such as hate speech on SNS have studied users’ engagement on Twitter, sparking debates about the representativeness of the findings presented (Matamoros-Fernández 2021). This panel has the aim to interrogate the role of the platform in conducting politics in contemporary India while questioning, simultaneously, the potential weakness in generalisations and comparative biases emerging out of such analyses.
Papers will engage with the need to address shortcomings in social representativeness of the Twitter user base (Keskinen 2018) as well as their impact on the type of dominant political narratives and interactions at work on the platform. Contributions will also aim at introspecting on the spatial, social, and gendered variability of online practices on Twitter (Vaghela, Mothilal and Pal 2020), advancing our understandings of political attitudes and discourses across platform types and locating their practical deployment on the ground, before, during and after political campaigning. In addition, we aim to contribute to the developing social theory of Twitter in Indian politics, and re-orient the way the platform is used by social science researchers as a lens into the digitization of life in the Global South (Quet and Al Dahdah 2020) and more specifically in the context of ‘millennial India’ (Udupa, Venkatraman & Khan 2019). We are particularly interested in contributions seeking to establish digital archives to advance scholarship on political practices at the interface of online and offline social worlds.

You will find attached below the detailed agenda of the abstract.


The schedule of the two symposium is follow as:

Monday, August 30, 2021

1:00-1:10 Introduction

  • 1:10-1:45 Dibyendu Mishra (MSR), Ronojoy Sen (NUS), Joyojeet Pal (MSR, Michigan Ann Arbor)

Political engagement and dissent on Twitter by sportspersons in India and the US.

  • 1:45-2:20 Megha Mishra (OII), Pu Yan (OII), Ralph Schroeder (OII)

TikTok politics: Tit for tat on the India-China cyberspace frontier.

  • 2:20-2:55 Marine Al Dahdah (CNRS, CEMS), Mehdi Arfaoui (EHESS, CEMS) and Marie Chartier (IRIS)

MeTooIndia: narratives, networks and impacts of an indianised global feminist movement.

  • 2:55-3:30 Paarmita Jhalani (IIIT-D, Karishma Sinha (IIIT-D), Aasim Khan (IIIT-D), and Payel Mukherjee (IIT-D)

Breaking or mending the public sphere? Twitter and the digital politics of Shaheen Bagh and BLM protestors within Indian and the American democratic politics.

  • 3:30-4:05 Jayana Jain (LMU Munich, ONLINEPOL)

Long-Distance Hindu Nationalism and Modi Mania: Twitter Networks of Indian Diaspora Supporters for CAA in Germany.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

  • 1:00-1:35 Shehla Rashid (JNU, MSR), Arshia Arya (MSR), Joyojeet Pal (MSR, U. Michigan Ann Arbor)

Big business and political engagement – a comparative study of India and the US.

  • 1:35-2:10 Kathryn Kalady Osowski (Upenn)

“Where have all the good women gone?” MGTOW, Modi’s BJP, and the male haven of Indian Twitter.

  • 2:10-2:45 Jean-Thomas Martelli (CSH), Vihang Jumle (Hertie School in Berlin)

Legitimacy-making for the twitteratli, populist-playing for the aam-aadmi: An inter-mediaum analysis of Modi’s addresses (2010-2021).

  • 2:45-3:20 Jean-Thomas Martelli (CSH). Vihang Jumle (Hertie School in Berlin), Vedant Jumle (Ashoka U.)

Junk nationalism: Communal patriotism as entertainment news, a speech-to-text analysis of Indian TV show ‘The Debate’.

3:20-3:30 Concluding remarks and way forward

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