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The Curious Incident of the People at the Mall

by Nishant Shah last modified Dec 14, 2008 12:13 PM
The first flash mob in India, in 2003, though short-lived and quickly declared illegal, brought to fore the idea that technology is constructing new sites of defining public participation and citizenship rights, forcing the State to recognise them as political collectives. As India emerges as an ICT enabled emerging economy, new questions of citizenship, participatory politics, social networking, citizenship, and governance are being posed. In the telling of the story of the flash-mob, doing a historical review of technology and access, and doing a symptomatic reading of the subsequent events that followed the ban, this paper evaluates the different ways in which the techno-narratives of an ‘India Shining’ campaign of prosperity and economic growth, are accompanied by various spaces of political contestation, mobilisation and engagement that determine the new public spheres of exclusion, marked by the aesthetics of cyberspatial matrices and technology enabled conditions of governance.

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