Admittedly, the ongoing transformation of Asiatic societies in the wake of Cultural
Revolution witnessed across the globe certainly poses a new dilemma for the
academia about the possible perceptions on the phenomenon. As such, the journey of cultural metamorphosis needs to be captured in the context of media penetration accentuated by the technological progress on various fronts. Be it celluloid, television or print media, one thing is common for each of them: the power of stimulating the audience. Rather, the public stimulation in this regard is being captured in the name of cultural impact, if not revolution, as a section of intellectuals opined, and the current issue focuses on the phenomenon in the name of ‘Symbiosis’ between ‘Media’ and ‘Culture’. This issue has a unique case study trying to explore the role of Indian ethos in developing an integrative personality of human being based on a study conducted in recent times. How the celluloid medium has been able to carve out a niche in the entertainment arena, besides surviving stiff competition from satellite channels, by figuring out the chemistry between the star cast and audience in states like Andhra Pradesh is discussed in the next paper. An interesting study has also been done on the electronic media’s popular comic show shot in the context of western culture that brings to light the debates on racism and cultural hegemony once again. Besides, the Hollywood cinema has also been captured in the context of its deep impact on the society through another write-up. Lastly, the issue tries to reexamine the so-called cultural politics of contemporary times in the name of social exclusion wherein the elements of media also play a crucial role.
The education system has the important responsibility of creating the future responsible citizens of the nation. The system will find true fulfillment only when it is able to develop an integrated personality in the students. The concept of integrated personality aims at developing the whole or the total human being in all dimensions. The paper, “Development of Integrated Personality Based on Indian Ethos: An Empirical Case Study of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning”, is significant because it uniquely combines guidelines from Indian ethos regarding integrated personality development and converts it into a cohesive framework. The paper by N Sivakumar, Mallajosyula Omkar and G Sriram discusses the implementation of the framework through a case study of a value-based educational institution—Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. The paper’s significance is that several statistical measures are used to validate the framework. The paper thus proves the eternal significance of Indian ethos and its validity at all times, including the current times.
Unraveling the hidden dimensions of the ongoing research in film studies is, no doubt, a critical task, as much of it is region-centric and class-specific in terms of academic significance. Rather, the appeal of Indian Cinema of contemporary times is hardly touched by anyone by addressing the diametric differences in reaching the audiences across the nation. S V Srinivas in his doctoral thesis has attempted to fill this gap by locating the South Indian cinema in general and Telugu in particular in the context of mass appeal and mobilization. In the paper, “Whistling Fans: Reflections on the Sociology, Politics and Performativity of an Excessively Active Audience”, S V Srinivas has extensively portrayed the ‘matinee idolism’ of film star Chiranjeevi on the basis of primary data and physical interactions with many stakeholders in the process. This would certainly enable us to understand the growing or declining utilitarian value of celluloid media in terms of molding the popular culture.
Many recent studies of Indian sociology are found to be obsessed with the thought process of exclusion and inclusion rooted in the various facets of development activity. It cannot certainly be ruled out as an inadvertent happening, and some point out the utility of the basic spectrum of thought, i.e., Subaltern Studies. By answering the rising concerns of academic community on the subject, P D Satya Pal, in the paper, “The Ideology of Exclusion and Cultural Politics in Indian Society”, further adds a different perspective to the debate. The persistence of structured exclusion rooted in the colonial mechanisms of contemporary times is directly pointed out here.
There is a growing proximity of human mind with the action episodes portrayed in many of the action movies of Hollywood, and this enables us to look at the growing discourses on the subject with a new mindset. Precisely, the destruction of symbols of human civilization and economic prosperity, as portrayed in the movie images, has become synonymous with a glorification campaign; possibly a commercial angle of vision has dominated the film-making craft rather than the social implications. Sumanth Inukonda’s paper, “Urban Destruction in Hollywood Movies of Late 1990s”, is a unique attempt in the direction of revisiting the Hollywood movies of the late 1990s that stand as a testimony to the above viewpoint.
The paper, “Mammy Two Shoes: Subversion and Reaffirmation of Racial Stereotypes in Tom and Jerry”, by Aju Aravind, looks into the question of race in popular culture. Comics and animated cartoons like Tom and Jerry have always been out of the realm of serious academic discussion. The character of Mammy or the black female who served the male community has been the center of heated discussion. Though attempts have been made to study the depiction of black characters in films and fiction, and also the representation of the blackness in popular music like reggae, little attempt has been made to study the role of the black female in cartoons like Tom and Jerry. The paper hopes to open a new discussion on the role, function, and reception of comic strips and animated cartoon like Tom and Jerry.
Assuming that globalization has been instrumental in the transformation of Indian society which finds reflection in the creation of a new middle-class group, many studies have been done on this subject. The transformation of gender relations, class perceptions, and cultural identities have been critically examined by N Sambandham in his review of the book Globalization on the Ground: Media and the transformation of Culture, Class, and Gender in India by Steve Derne.
-- Radha Mohan Chebolu