The Role of Press in the Politics of Knowledge in Development: Challenges of Creating ‘Alternatives’ in Media

AuthorTripta Sharma
Published date01 June 2022
Date01 June 2022
Subject MatterSpecial Section: Politics of KnowledgeArticles
The Role of Press in the
Politics of Knowledge in
Development: Challenges of
Creating ‘Alternatives’ in Media
Tripta Sharma1
Media is an integral part of any society. In modern societies where it has grown so much, it becomes
very important to pay attention to the role of media in constructing the social. This article discusses
how the role of press in establishing the hegemony of the modern-industrial west works through the
politics of news, establishing the hierarchies in the politics of knowledge in general and therefore also
in the project of development. It argues that in post-colonial societies, the latter includes a process
of marginalization of already existing knowledge systems, for long and more commonly referred to as
‘traditional knowledges’. Exploring initiatives in creating counters to mainstream media, the article also
invites a problematization of the category of ‘alternative media’ as a true alternative presenting peoples’
perspectives on development.
Politics of knowledge, mainstream media, alternative media, Times of India, rural coverage, already
existing knowledge systems (AEKS)
In an increasingly mediatized world, communication becomes the axis of human life. From language to
communication technologies ranging from print to internet, as McLuhan et al. (1967) argue, media not
only alters but creates a distinct social reality. Media historians like Innis (1950, 1951) argue that media
is instrumental in rise and fall of empires. Use of any media requires specific skill sets that change with
the change of media. Through controlling media, formation and dissemination of knowledge can be
controlled resulting in larger socio-economic-political changes.
The advent of mass communication prompted radical changes in human society. Pre-modern
knowledge systems marked by decentralized, face to face, oral communication (referred to in this article
1 Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Tripta Sharma, Zakir Husain Delhi College, University of Delhi, New Delhi 110002, India.
Studies in Indian Politics
10(1) 118–131, 2022
© 2022 Lokniti, Centre for the
Study of Developing Societies
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/23210230221082830

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