CfP: [Panel] The broken mirror: Making sense of Indian politics on Twitter, an Inter-medium perspective

Jean-Thomas Martelli's picture

Dear colleagues, 

We are planning to organise a two-day conference entitled “The broken mirror: Making sense of Indian politics on Twitter, an Inter-medium perspective” held online and organised by the Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) and the Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi (IIIT-D) on 30-31 August 2021. We welcome abstract proposals for this event. We request you to send us your abstract proposals of no more than 300 words by Monday, May 10. Full-papers accepted for the symposium will range up to 5000–6000 words (excluding references) and will be required to be submitted by 30 July 2021. Selected papers to be published in partnership with a major academic journal.

We look forward to reading your abstracts. Deadline: 10th, May, 2021.

Jean-Thomas Martelli (Head Researcher, CSH):

Aasim Khan (Assistant Professor, IIIT-Delhi): 

The broken mirror: Making sense of Indian politics on Twitter, an Inter-medium perspective

The digital turn in political campaigning and communication in developing societies has made ethnographic, text and network analyses of social media a requirement for any comprehensive study of political behaviour and institutions. 

Within a span of five years, the use of social network services (SNS) and social media has more than tripled in India (CSDS 2019), while “experts” in online strategizing have become indispensable to any political venture. As a result, nearly half of the scholarship on phenomena such as hate speech on SNS have studied users’ engagement on Twitter, sparking debates about the representativeness of the findings presented (Matamoros-Fernández 2021). This panel has the aim to interrogate the role of the platform in conducting politics in contemporary India while questioning, simultaneously, the potential weakness in generalisations and comparative biases emerging out of such analyses. 

Papers will engage with the need to address shortcomings in social representativeness of the Twitter user base (Keskinen 2018) as well as their impact on the type of dominant political narratives and interactions at work on the platform. Contributions will also aim at introspecting on the spatial, social, and gendered variability of online practices on Twitter (Vaghela, Mothilal and Pal 2020), advancing our understandings of political attitudes and discourses across platform types and locating their practical deployment on the ground, before, during and after political campaigning. In addition, we aim to contribute to the developing social theory of Twitter in Indian politics, and re-orient the way the platform is used by social science researchers as a lens into the digitization of life in the Global South (Quet and Al Dahdah 2020) and more specifically in the context of ‘millennial India’ (Udupa, Venkatraman & Khan 2019). We are particularly interested in contributions seeking to establish digital archives to advance scholarship on political practices at the interface of online and offline social worlds.


Kumar, Sanjay. 2019. Social Media & Political Behaviour. New Delhi: Lokniti – Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

Keskinen, Suvi. 2018. “The ‘Crisis’ of White Hegemony, Neonationalist Femininities and Antiracist Feminism.” Women’s Studies International Forum 68:157–63. doi: 10.1016/j.wsif.2017.11.001.

Matamoros-Fernández, Ariadna, and Johan Farkas. 2021. “Racism, Hate Speech, and Social Media: A Systematic Review and Critique.” Television & New Media 22(2):205–24. doi: 10.1177/1527476420982230.

Quet, Mathieu, and Marine Al Dahdah. 2020. “Technologies Without Borders? The Digitization of Society in a Postcolonial World.” Science, Technology and Society 25(3):363–67. doi: 10.1177/0971721820912894.

Udupa, Sahana, Shriram Venkatraman, and Aasim Khan. 2020. “‘Millennial India’: Global Digital Politics in Context.” Television & New Media 21(4):343–59. doi: 10.1177/1527476419870516.

Vaghela, Palashi, Ramaravind K Mothilal, and Joyojeet Pal. 2021. “Birds of a Caste - How Caste Hierarchies Manifest in Retweet Behavior of Indian Politicians.” Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 4(CSCW3):1–24. doi: 10.1145/3432911.