Thriving Digital Culture amidst the Digital Divide: Opportunities and Challenges for Digital India

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Kiran PRASAD, Sri Padmavati Mahila University, Tirupati, A. P. India, India
edew media in its myriad forms are gradually moving centre-stage to contour a digital culture even in societies sharply marked by the digital divide. India’s ambitious Digital India Project, key to its administrative reform agenda, proposes to extend the Internet to the remotest of villages by 2017. The foundation of this initiative is a program of e-literacy, capacity building, and installation of ubiquitous broadband-enabled computer kiosks based on entrepreneurial public-private partnerships, all aimed at promoting digital socio-cultural activities. For instance, there were more than 58 million tweets in the 2014 elections in India, a country which accounted for less than 5 percent of the world’s internet users at the time. New media production practices have expanded the culture of online participation through processes that involve mass collaboration, crowdsourcing, open source, wikinomics and other forms of user innovation. News organizations have made social media as the ‘second screen’ by reading tweets and comments on TV, inviting the audience to raise issues and questions and even hosting debates. This paper will explore some of the issues pertinent to digital culture and the dynamic processes of engagement and negotiation, control and resistance through the new media. The growth of the digital culture has largely been seen through the deterministic technological lens be that can be distorted by the spending power of the middle class, which is large and growing but still unrepresentative of the reality on the ground for millions in the developing world. A better understanding of the socio-economic foundations of the new media, digital culture and class experience and power relations are needed to study the dynamics digital democracy in diverse societies.