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Transnational dalit movement : an analysis of logics of dalit discourse of solidarity and Network in cyberspace

Abstract : This article analyzes the online political discourse of the international Dalit Solidarity network (iDSn,, an international network organization working to eliminate caste discrimination through the engagement of multiple stakeholders, including civil society, Un and eU institutions and governments. iDSn was founded in March 2000, and operates out of Denmark. its members and associates include international human rights groups such as Human rights Watch and anti-Slavery international, development agencies, national Dalit solidarity networks in europe, and national platforms in india, nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. iDSn also works to raise public awareness of caste discrimination and mobilize public opinion on a global platform, and increase political pressure. This organization serves as a catalyst for linking the Dalit struggle against casteism with the social forum process and the global justice movement. Caste discrimination has always been a subject of human rights concern. international recognition of "rights" can help solidify group identity, facilitate mobilization, and enhance group power among aggrieved communities such as india's Dalits. therefore, a solidarity network group in the cyberspace creates that place for the Dalits to reach out to the various international groups fighting for human rights. New media and Globalization The new media play a crucial role in the organization of the global protests. the 1990s have seen a growing discussions of internet activism, and research have shown how various political movements have used new media (Best and Kellner, 2001; Couldry and Curran, 2003). For example, an international protest movement in resistance to neo-liberal institutions championed democracy, social justice, and a better world in the "Battle for Seattle" against the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 1999. in early 2003, global anti-war movements began to emerge to challenge america's foreign policies against iraq. Kahn and Kellner (2004) argues that "after using the internet to successfully organize a wide range of anti-war and anticorporate globalization demonstrations, activists (including many young people) are now continuing to build a 'virtual' bloc that monitors, critiques, and fights against the sort of aggressive versions of Western capitalism and imperialism being promoted by Bush, Blair, and their neo-liberal G8 counterparts" (p.87). in an analysis of the websites of anti-neo-liberal globalization organizations, Aelst and Walgrave (2007) found that the sites actively mobilize people to demonstrate against the symbols of economic globalization which increased the possibility of all supporters to become real participants. The case of india: The Voice of the marignalized With the developments in the technological and cultural fields in the 1990s in India, there emerged new ways of projecting the marginalized voices. Schwittay (2011) argues that in India new media have been utilized for development purposes that enable marginalized communities to access technologies to marginalized segments of the Indian population. Globalization has enabled indians to partake in the global transformation in social, cultural, economic and political fields. As globalization enables the organization of both power and function in a "space of flows"- of commodities, capital, technology, ideas, and culture across national boundaries, it becomes increasingly important to study how the marginalized communities have secured a place within this "space of flows." Castells (1996) explains, "the dominant tendency is towards a horizon of networked, ahistorical space of flows, aiming at imposing its logic over scattered, segmented places, increasingly unrelated to each other, less and less able to share cultural codes" ( p. 428). the Dalits belong to the "Scheduled Caste" category in india, which comprises the people belonging to the lowest caste groups. the Dalits' status derives its strength and justification from religious texts. in the Manusmriti the Dalits are described as "polluted," and are considered the "Untouchables." today the other Untouchable castes prefer to use the term "Dalit" as an identity of assertion. Dalits' freedom operates in designated enclaves: in politics and in the administrative posts, which they acquire because of state reservation policy. the constitution of india has certain arrangements for the backward classes to allow them to enjoy a humane lifestyle and for their upliftment (Chalam, 1990). However, in areas of contemporary social exchange and culture, the "untouchability" status becomes a Dalit's only definition (Ghose, 2003). International Dalit Solidarity Network is an example of how globalization empowers the marginalized groups, in this instance, the Dalits, who gain a platform via the internet to project their causes beyond the national borders. the online discourse reflects Dalit's arguments in the vocabulary of the global human rights movement as it seeks alliances with other human right groups to garner support for their movement. this study aims to understand the logics, meanings, and arguments that are operative behind the discourses of the "other," the Dalits. critical discourse analys isthis paper employs critical discourse analysis where the website is understood as discursive object or "texts" immersed in economies of culture, politics, casteism and global networking. in the most general sense, Critical Discourse analysis (CDa) involves deconstruction of the meanings in the text. as Philips and Jorgensen (2002) explain, "discourse analysis aims at the deconstruction of the structures that we take for granted; it tries to show that the given organization of the world is the result of political processes with social consequences" (p. 48). extending the work of Foucault (1980), Fairclough (1989, 1992, 1995a, 1995b, 1995c, 2003) defines discourse as an important form of social practice that constitutes knowledge about a particular topic at a historical moment through language in speech and text or images and sounds, which shape, and are shaped, by institutions, situations, and structures. in essence, discourse both reproduces and changes knowledge, identities, and social relations, including power relations. Data reveals that the Dalit movements and rights propagated by IDSN strategically emphasize the need to contest the power and influence of local, national, international, global structures that affect casteism and the welfare of Dalits.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 3:59:40 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 2:16:01 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-00840530, version 1



Purba Das, Sheida Shirvani. Transnational dalit movement : an analysis of logics of dalit discourse of solidarity and Network in cyberspace. Communiquer dans un monde de normes. L'information et la communication dans les enjeux contemporains de la " mondialisation "., Mar 2012, France. ⟨hal-00840530⟩



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