chapter  8
11 Pages

Television and embodiment: a speculative essay

ByPurnima Mankekar

In his classic text Technology and Cultural Form,1 Raymond Williams points to the theoretical fallacies of conceiving of television technology as distinct from social life. In this article, I take my cue from Williams to sketch the contours of a theoretical approach that will enable us to study contemporary Indian television as technology and cultural form.2

Much of the current scholarship on Indian television is exemplary in how it foregrounds sociopolitical context and shifts in political economy alongside a careful attention to how new consumption practices, religious polarization and transnational identity have been entextualized.3 I build on this scholarship to explore how we might construct an analytical framework that includes but also takes us beyond ideological interpellation into the realm of affect and embodiment. In what follows, I posit that television, by extending our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and movement, reconfigures how we inhabit the body and, hence, the modalities of our embodiment.4