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Middle Class, Media and Modi

Middle Class, Media and Modi
The Making of a New Electoral Politics

March 2020 | 412 pages | SAGE Publications Pvt. Ltd
The spectacular victory of Narendra Modi and the BJP in 2014 and again in 2019 demands a nuanced exploration of the factors that led to it. Though the role of the middle class and the media in the making of what is called the ‘Modi Wave’ is often talked about, a clear-eyed and unbiased look at how they transformed the political landscape in post-liberalization India is still wanting.

This book studies how the Indian middle class, once seen as politically indifferent, has gradually become a player of importance. This change, which slowly began in the 1990s, has now reached a crescendo, and Modi has become the icon of the changing economic demands of the middle class and their ideological rightward shift. The new middle class played a decisive role in the electoral outcomes of 2014 and 2019—two elections that have undoubtedly changed the way India imagines itself and how the rest of the world sees India. Modi’s management of mainstream and social media—primary consumers of which is the ever-growing middle class—has played a key role in his emphatic victories. This book will help the reader understand the arsenal that Modi used in these elections and is a must-read for scholars of politics, media studies and sociology.

Foreword by R. S. Deshpande
Introduction: Middle Class, Media and Modi: Ascending the Power Steps
The Nebulous Domain of the Middle Class
Indian Middle Class: British Raj to Post-Emergency
Birth of New Middle Class during Liberal Raj
Middle Class, Media and BJP
Middle Class and Narendra Modi
Maneuvering the Middle Class
Managing the Unmanageable: Media and Modi
Modi’s Ride to Power on Social Media

This book traces the remarkable ascendency of the Indian middle class over time, particularly following liberalization since the early 1990s. It establishes the intersection of the middle class, media and Modi phenomenon in India and highlights the reasons for their sanguine overlap. While being appreciative of the shift in Indian politics with the entry of Modi, it scrupulously avoids adulation which a section of the Indian media has indulged in recent years. 

Valerian Rodrigues,
Former Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Nagesh Prabhu has tackled a timely and understudied topic in this book. Modi’s successful campaigns have used effective aspirational strategies to draw support from both India’s middle classes and social groups aspiring to gain the middle-class status. This book provides an extremely valuable study of these dynamics. It provides a critical resource for anyone interested in understanding India’s middle classes and contemporary politics in India.

Leela Fernandes,
Director, Center for South Asian Studies, University of Michigan, USA

Understanding and explaining the rise of the BJP from the prism of the emerging new middle class is the focus of this book. While a lot of the analysis on the rise and growth of the BJP and its current leadership has been from the perspectives of caste, identity politics, leadership and the multiple contours of Hindutva, this book weaves an analysis that is refreshingly new, privileging a focus on the role of the middle class in India. The author persuasively draws a linkage between Modi’s rise to power, the role of the media in this regard and the increasing space that the middle class has come to occupy in electoral politics.

Sandeep Shastri,
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Jain University, Bengaluru

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ISBN: 9789353882624
ISBN: 9789353882594

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