In this article, I examine how television’s shifting presence in an unfamiliar venue – the repair shop – is illustrative of a broader tension between rhetorics of innovation and obsolescence. Investigating the nature of this tension, I argue, is crucial for understanding how television is changing in India. Through interviews with small-town and rural television repairmen in south India, and an ethnographic study of a small-town television repair shop, I explore how studying the television as a material object with a distinct life outside the walls of the home and the experiences of the individual viewer can open up new veins of analysis for scholars of television, both in India and elsewhere. Furthermore, I argue that the technological instability on display in the repair shop challenges persistent notions of a technologically empowered ‘digital’ future that have been promulgated by state governments in India.
"Media, Culture & Society" – SAGE
Published: May 1, 2019