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

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Snapshot of Youth Culture

Growing up in the Knowledge Society: Living the IT Dream in Bangalore by Nicholas Nisbett (New Delhi: Routledge), 2009; pp xi+208.

In recent years, the success of India’s information technology (IT) industry has produced much public interest and a wide range of academic research on issues ranging from the causes of the success of the software industry, the cultural and economic impact of call centres, the politics of outsourcing and the impact of economic restructuring on cities and towns. Nisbett’s Growing up in the Knowledge Society contributes to this scholarship through a study of the impact of such new forms of technology on young middle-class men in Bangalore.

Growing up in the Knowledge Society presents an ethnographic study of the ways in which individual middle-class men interact with and are shaped by the IT industry in their daily lives. The book locates itself within scholarly debates on the knowledge society and approaches the IT industry through an anthropological lens that focuses on the cultural dimensions of technological change. In particular, the book identifies cybercafés and IT training institutes as sites that serve as social and cultural spaces for the negotiation of the identities, social relationships and aspirations of young middle-class men. The book provides a detailed analysis of the spatial organisation and varied sociocultural practices associated with Bangalore’s cybercafés. The central original contributions of the book lie in the ethnographic observations and interviews conducted – primarily drawing on one group of young men who visit a particular cybercafé. Nisbett develops in-depth friendships with the group and provides a detailed analysis of social practices of male friendship and the ways in which masculinity is shaped in and by the space of the café. His analysis bridges both the social space in and around the café and the virtual online space that the men access through the cybercafé.

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