Embodying the Local: Assam’s Growing YouTubers and Shifting Media Infrastructures
YouTube has increasingly been recognised as the “Google for those less comfortable with English” and India constitutes its largest subscriber base, with over 225 million users. Concurrently growing is the number of local “influencers” have generated repercussions in the larger imagination of YouTube. Using an online ethnography of Assamese YouTubers and channels from 2016 until recently, I argue that local online content and media creators challenge an interesting transition of the global form to the local. This phenomenon unveils the interplay among media infrastructures, local creative industries, media materialities and transnational/national geographies. This project captures the transformation of the texture of the content that populates platforms such as YouTube with the entry of the regional content creators. In the process, it demonstrates the emancipation of the local configuration in the platform’s development. In this case, the existing media infrastructure and platform find the everyday turned into a spectacle.
Main Research Topics
- new media forms
- mobile media cultures
- subcultural politics
- digital cultures
- YouTube studies
2022 Fellow, Centre for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum, April to September 2022
2022–2024 Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) Postdoctoral Fellow, The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)
2019–2020 Faculty, Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC), Delhi University
2020–2021 Researcher, ICAS:MP project, CSDS, January
2019 Independent consultant, Centre for Internet and Society, New Delhi in the project titled, Life of a Tuple-NRC in Assam, sponsored by Azim Premji University
Lectures and Publications
Paper selected for presentation at the ABRN conference Borderland Futures: Technologies, Zones, Co-existences, Seoul, South Korea June 23-25, 2022. Paper titled, “Memes Beyond Borders: Understanding the Virality of Bangladeshi Meme Content in Assam and the case of Trivial Mobile Media Matter.”
Singha, S. (2022) Digital Expression from the Shadow States: The in-betweeners in the Late-capitalist Era. Article forthcoming in South Asian Popular Culture.
Singha, S. (2022). Meme Collectives and Preferred Truths in Assam. In Herbert, D & Fisher-Høyrem, S (Eds.), Social Media and Social Order (pp. 52-65). de Gruyter.
Singha, S. (2015). The ‘Gay’ Fictive City: Queer Imaginations in the Cinematic Space. The Apollonian: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(2), 82-94.