Sentiments of disdain and practices of distinction: Boundary-work, subjectivity, and value in the Hindi film industry

Tejaswini Ganti

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article complicates the discussion of commercial mass media production and takes it beyond simplistic assertions of the "bottom-line" by focusing on a specific feature of the everyday life of film production in Mumbai, India, home to the Hindi-language film industry, and more commonly known as "Bollywood." It examines the inordinate amount of criticism and contempt expressed by Hindi filmmakers about the workings of the industry as well as filmmakers' efforts to assert their difference from a generic norm-ranging from discourses about behavior to a fetishization of technology. These sentiments and discourses operate as a form of "boundary-work," which serves to create alternate regimes of value and criteria of prestige that are independent of commercial outcome. The article also demonstrates how it is possible to carry out ethnographic research within large-scale media industries that addresses core anthropological concerns about subjectivity, social life, and social practice. It illustrates how the sites and processes of media production, and not simply the finished outcomes, are invested with social and cultural meaning.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)5-43
    Number of pages39
    JournalAnthropological Quarterly
    Volume85
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 13 2012

    Keywords

    • Bollywood
    • Boundary-work
    • Commercial media production
    • Cultural producers
    • Film industry
    • India
    • Subjectivity
    • Value

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Anthropology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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