Contesting India’s Image on the World Stage: Audience Reception of Slumdog Millionaire Ashley Anderson
Driven in part by developments in communication technologies, globalization in its utopian vision promises to link diverse cultures across geographic boundaries. Marshall McLuhan exemplifies this ideological promise of globalization in his description of the global village. He describes it as a world in which people would be brought closer together as they made their voices heard. According to McLuhan, “We have become irrevocably involved with, and responsible for, each other” (Croteau and Hoynes 337). Recently, global media scholars have questioned this idealistic vision of an egalitarian, mutually interdependent democracy. The flow of information and materials in a global economy seems to be privileging an elite few while marginalizing others, causing a rift in the values of a divided population. Using the representation of India as an example, this study examines the cultural effects of globalization in a postcolonial free market whose media outlets have been infiltrated by transnational capitalism. Until economic reforms in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, India’s economy operated under a socialist model. Their rapid state-sponsored reform inaugurated “the creation of a robust global capitalist consumer economy” (Parameswaran and Cardoza 1). Such rapid economic changes in turn impacted the cultural scene in India. Both the Indian people and foreigners were given the opportunity to redefine what constitutes the Indian image. The critically-acclaimed 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire provides an interesting example of an attempt to define or redefine the Indian identity and is used as a central text for Chrestomathy: Annual Review of Undergraduate Research, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, College of Charleston Volume 9 (2010): 1-18 © 2010 by the College of Charleston, Charleston SC 29424, USA. All rights to...
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