The Rumor of Globalization:Desecrating the Global from Vernacular Margins

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Drawing on recent theories in virtuality, performativity, and governmentality studies, while incorporating the insights of postcolonial activist scholarship of the global South, this book radically renegotiates the idea of the global and the local within an Indian vernacular context. Six provocative chapters weigh the significance of events, objects, histories, and episodes, interrogating what Frantz Fanon called the zone of occult instability where the people dwell. They examine the quotidian commodity fetishism practiced by rural cargo cults, which find themselves easily swayed by the rumors of the bazaar, such as the widely held belief that China dumps waste in communist Calcutta. Chapters consider desi cyberporn and its strange obsession with the figure of Gandhi and fat aunties; Indo-Persian travelogues of journeys throughout England and women's travel narratives of a modernizing Japan, all embodying local traditions of cosmopolitanism; folk scroll paintings of 9/11; and the vernacular civic traditions of urbanism embedded in the grotty photographs of slums.Ultimately, this book deploys fabulation, a distinct ethnography highly sensitive to subaltern political aspirations, to study vernacular India's encounter with outsized globalizing forces. Throughout, the work maintains a broad commitment to Marxist theory, subaltern studies scholarship, and poststructuralist theory.
Publication Date: 
February 26, 2013