Redefining the Indian Public Sphere: A Study of the LGBT Rights Movement in India

© Media Watch 7 (2) 174-184, 2016
ISSN 0976-0911 e-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2016/v7i2/98741

Redefining the Indian Public Sphere: A Study of the LGBT Rights Movement in India

MICA-The School of Ideas, Ahmedabad, India

New media networks have led to a personalization of the political sphere as affordances provided by the virtual space give precedence to the significance of the ‘self ’ over the ‘masses’. Through this paper an attempt has been made to understand how the LGBT community uses new media technologies to transcend the boundaries of the traditional public sphere in order to create a realm of self-identification in the virtual world. The study focuses on a group of Indian citizens who identify themselves as members of the LGBT community, who are digitally active and have participated in activities to mobilize public opinion in favor of the legalization of their sexual preferences. The study delineates how the LGBT community translates online discursive practices into offline civic engagement activities through the process of community formation, mobilization, setting up agenda for collective actions and creation of a realm for expression by the marginalized other.

Keywords: New media, virtual space, LGBT community, politico-public sphere, counter publics, LGBT rights movement


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Kiran Vinod Bhatia is enrolled in the fellow program in Management and Communication (FPM-C) at MICA, Ahmedabad. For her doctoral thesis, she is conducting a study on the role of media education in promoting religious literacy amongst rural school children in India.