ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Television's Modernising Force

Television and Social Change in Rural India by Kirk Johnson; Sage Publications, New Delhi, 2000; pp 248, Rs 225.

“In the late 1990s villagers are rapidly becoming full participants in the television age, and this is dramatically reshaping village life.” These words capture the basic spirit of this book. The author enjoys the unique advantage of being a foreigner who spent his early childhood in villages in Maharashtra, India. He obviously brings out this unique blend of the east and the west in this book. The advantage of having spent his childhood in India lies not only in his familiarity with the local language Marathi, but also in his reasonable familiarity with the overall cultural ethos and social milieu. The question really is to what extent he is able to exploit this to his advantage.

Television today occupies a central position in the lives of Indians. This is predominantly so in the urban areas but is also becoming more and more true for the rural areas. There is little wonder therefore that a sociologist like Kirk Johnson should be interested in this phenomenon. In his own words the book attempts to analyse the following issues: the role TV plays in the process of social change in rural India; its influence on gender roles, caste, and family relationships, the aspirations, expectations, and concerns of villagers; and the influence of TV on these factors, and what role villagers see for TV in the social and economic development of the region.

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