The Globally Familiar: Mediating Masculinities in Delhi, India
In the last decade, the proliferation of information and communication technologies in India – 3G and 4G networks, smart phones, and social media platforms – have created opportunities for young people on the margins of the national imaginary to take part in transnational media worlds. In this talk I discuss how young men from working class, migrant, and minority communities in Delhi take up hip hop’s now digitally mobile aesthetic discourse to fashion themselves as global subjects. Using the term the globally familiar as an analytic to engage with the recursive effects of media consumption, production, and circulation, I argue for an attention to the ways in which the diverse young men I have gotten to know in Delhi since 2012 mediate their racialized and classed masculinities through their online and offline hip hop play.
Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and co-editor of the Multimodal Section of American Anthropologist, the flagship journal of the American Anthropological Association. He received a joint PhD in Anthropology and Education from the University of Pennsylvania
For almost a decade Gabriel has utilized collaborative, multimodal, and speculative approaches to research how media consumption, production, and circulation shape understandings of migration, gender, race, and urban space. His first book, The Globally Familiar: Digital hip hop, masculinity and urban space in Delhi (Duke University Press, 2020), narrates how Delhi’s young working class and migrant men adopt hip hop’s globally circulating aesthetics— accessed through inexpensive smartphones and cheap internet connectivity that radically changed India’s media landscape in the early aughts— to productively re-fashion themselves and their city. Recently, Gabriel has become interested in the ways that corporate owned social media platforms have become a site for a rearticulation and disruption of enduring forms of coloniality. His second book, co-written with Sahana Udupa and titled Digital Unsettling:Decoloniality and Dispossession in the Age of Social Media (NYU Press, forthcoming), explores these developments and their material consequences.