The ‘digital denizen’ represents a new digital-political subject, one who is increasingly outcaste within a global conjuncture of exclusionary politics, technological affordances and local histories of power and coercion.
Ekta Oza, Queen Mary University of London, UK.
Philippa Williams, School of Geography, Queen Mary University of London, UK.
Lipika Kamra, University of Birmingham, UK; Associate Professor, Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, O. P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
This paper examines the sociodigital experiences of political and religious minorities in contemporary India to understand matters of voice and power, as well as feelings of belonging, identity and citizenship. It builds out from research conducted in New Delhi between February and June 2019 during and after the Indian national elections and focuses on WhatsApp as an everyday space where Hindu nationalism is (re)produced and articulated through memes, forwarded messages, videos and political talk.
In the shadow of right-wing nationalisms, it examines how civic and political relationships are being transformed. Drawing on experiences and narratives of political and religious minorities we contend that the ‘digital denizen’ represents a new digital-political subject, one who is increasingly outcaste within a global conjuncture of exclusionary politics, technological affordances and local histories of power and coercion.
Digital denizenship represents the regression of citizenship which connects ways of acting and articulating within intimate and digital storytelling infrastructures shaped by the articulation and defence of ‘truth’. We show how being a digital denizen means recognising, anticipating and navigating the oppressive expressive power of exclusionary sociodigital practices in order to quietly resist difference, disorientation, danger and unbelonging in everyday life.
Published in: Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space
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