18. december: Ravinder Kaur – Københavns Universitet

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18. december: How to Draw a Superpower

Alumneforeningen Kubulus har bedt forskere fra Københavns Universitet om at fortælle om et af deres aktuelle forskningsprojekter. Det er tilsammen blevet til de 24 låger i årets forskningsjulekalender, hvor du kan læse om alt fra plantebiologi til præsident Barack Obama.

I dagens låge fortæller lektor og leder af Centre of Global South-Asian Studies Ravinder Kaur om et af sine forskningsprojekter.

Branding India

In the past decade, India has undergone a dramatic transformation – from an aid dependent developing nation to an Asian powerhouse. This transformation is not only a result of economic growth or military power, but also strategic construction of India’s image as a global player in the eyes of the world.

Though the work of images, art, aesthetics and visual technologies is central to the construction of political power, it is often given little attention within the studies of political power-making.

My research focuses on the processes of image-makeover through which a desirable nation is created for the global audience. I focus on a number of image campaigns which the Indian state has initiated in the past decade as part of the neoliberal economic reforms.

The idea behind the campaigns was to enable a visual shift – from the image of India as a chaotic, conflict-ridden, poor nation to a beautiful place with plentiful economic opportunities. In other words, the campaigns aimed to establish India as an ‘attractive investment destination’ for the global investors eagerly looking for new markets in Asia.

Incredible India

The most successful and visible image campaigns among these is ‘Incredible India’ that has created a new world of images in which India appears as a prosperous nation marked by its natural beauty and abundant resources.

In my research, I draw attention to the distinct and popular logo of Incredible India - ! – that by now has been profitably incorporated in the campaigns to attract foreign direct investments. In fact, these seductive image campaigns represent one of the most successful stories of neoliberal nation-making in the digital age. Indeed the fact that India is the recipient of the world’s attention is nothing new.

India has always been prominent within the universe of Oriental fantasies – as the desirable ‘exotic’ other, the subject of the Western gaze. The difference this time is that it is India which is actively inviting the world to look at it, and that too through a visual path set by it.

The Incredible India campaign on a bus in New York city.

 

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Mød også

I morgen kan du i KU's forskningsjulekalender 2012 møde Jørgen S. Nielsen, der blandt andet forsker i religiøse symboler.