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Srivastava, Sanjay (2015) 'Modi-masculinity: Media, Manhood and ‘Traditions’ in a Time of Consumerism.' Television and New Media, 16 (4). pp. 331-348.

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Media discourses—both independent journalism and advertisements—during the 2014 general election in India articulated a gendered focus on a significant aspect of Narendra Modi’s public representation relating to his forceful masculinity. His election campaign—as well as popular discourse that surrounded his pre-prime ministerial persona—significantly focused upon his “manly” leadership style: efficient, dynamic, potent, and capable of removing all policy-roadblocks through sheer force of personality. In this, he is implicitly counterpoised to Manmohan Singh, his “impotent” predecessor, and more generally against an “effeminate” Indian type who is unable to strike hard at both external enemies (Pakistan and China, say) and internal threats (“Muslim terrorists,” most obviously). His “56-inch chest”—able and willing to bear the harshest burdens in the service of “Mother India”—was a frequently invoked metaphor in the election. This article suggests that Modi-masculinity is a reformulation of older versions of Indian masculinist discourse in a time of consumerist modernity and that the media has played a significant role in the re-making. The discussion suggests that Modi-masculinity stands at the juncture of new consumerist aspirations, the politics of “Indian traditions” and gender, and the re-fashioning of masculine identities.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 15274764
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2022 16:47

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