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LINGUIST List 21.874

Sun Feb 21 2010

Diss: Discourse Analysis: Ramakrishnan: 'Modernization of Tradition...'

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        1.    Shri Ramakrishnan, Modernization of Tradition: Contested discourses and negotiated ideologies of fairness, gender, and morality in the South Indian media

Message 1: Modernization of Tradition: Contested discourses and negotiated ideologies of fairness, gender, and morality in the South Indian media
Date: 20-Feb-2010
From: Shri Ramakrishnan <srilakshemail.arizona.edu>
Subject: Modernization of Tradition: Contested discourses and negotiated ideologies of fairness, gender, and morality in the South Indian media
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Institution: University of Arizona
Program: Department of French & Italian
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Shri Ramakrishnan

Dissertation Title: Modernization of Tradition: Contested discourses and
negotiated ideologies of fairness, gender, and morality in
the South Indian media

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis


Dissertation Director(s):
Perry Gilmore
Norma Mendoza-Denton
Norma Gonzalez

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation explored the ways in which the everyday life practices
of most urban Indians embodied the 'modernization of tradition'
(Hancock, 1999) and the role that media texts played in facilitating and
encouraging this modernization. The research is based on six months
of ethnographic fieldwork conducted from June through December
2005, in the south-Indian city of Chennai, which has traditionally been
regarded as a conservative city. Examining the Indian media as a
discursive site where normative ideologies are not only constructed but
also co-constructed, the study explored and examined how the
discourses of tradition and modernity were contested in the south
Indian media. It also identified and interpreted the ways in which
dominant ideologies at the nexus of color/caste and gender/morality
were negotiated by an urban city and its residents in the move towards
modernity.

Data included three different but inter-related sub-genres of print
media texts, visual images, textual advertisements, and news
articles. The primary dataset of visual images consisted of 300 product
advertisements culled from four, nationally available, English-language
magazines gathered from the two genres of news and film. Textual
data sets comprising the matrimonial advertisements and the news
articles were gathered from the local editions of two nationally-
available English-language newspapers. The broader ethnographic
investigation included participant observations, individual formal and
informal interviews, and focus group discussions with adult residents of
Chennai. The data were analyzed using a multi-discursive and
multidisciplinary approach. The analyses were informed by conceptual
approaches which included: social semiotics and the multimodal theory
of communication, genre analysis, critical discourse and feminist critical
discourse analyses, and alternative modernities.

In examining the media texts as the site where dominant sociocultural
ideologies were being constantly configured and reconfigured, the
analyses identified and examined the workings of three interconnected
themes - fairness (in relation to skin color), gender, and morality.
Through these themes, the dissertation examined the larger
contestations and negotiations between the discourses of traditions
and modernities as experienced by adult residents of urban Chennai.
The discourses of identity construction and reconstruction were thus
examined at the nexus of the individual self situated within the larger
frame of the city.
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