Title

Telecom, national development and the Indian state: a postcolonial critique

Publication Date

2004

Journal or Book Title

Media, Culture & Society

Abstract

This article examines how the global discourse of ‘telecom for development’ has clashed with competing discourses that critique Western modernity in the context of the postcolonial Indian state and its changing relationship to science, the market and national development. I draw from recent postcolonial theories of the nation state in order to locate a historically rooted debate on the role of technology in national development, which, I argue, lies at the heart of policy debates over telecom reform in India today. This article provides an historical examination of two distinct periods of telecom policy-making that preceded the era of globalization in the 1990s: a period of techno-nationalism between 1965 and 1980, and a period of techo-populism between 1980 and 1989. I argue that the ruptures in discourse that we trace in between these two periods, set the stage for future battles over reform. At stake in these debates, I argue, are differing claims on the postcolonial state that remain incomprehensible unless we engage with the complex questions of development and modernity.

ISSN

1460-3675

Volume

26

Pages

227-249

Issue

2

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