This book examines the complexities of lifestyles of the upwardly mobile middle classes in India in the context of economic liberalisation in the new millennium, by analysing new social formations and aspirations, modes of consumption and ways of being in contemporary urban India.
Rich in ethnographic material, the work is based on empirical case-studies, research material, and illustrations. Offering a model of how urban cosmopolitan India might be studied and understood in a transnational and transcultural context, the book takes the reader through three panoramic landscapes: new ‘world-class’ real estate advertising, a unique religious leisure site — the Akshardham Cultural Complex, and the world of themed weddings and beauty/wellness, all responses to India’s new middle classes’ tryst with cosmopolitanism.
The work will be of particular interest to scholars and researchers in sociology, South Asian studies, media studies, anthropology and urban studies as also those interested in religion, performance and rituals, diaspora, globalisation and transnational migration.
About the Author
Christiane Brosius is Professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Cluster of Excellence ‘Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows’, Heidelberg University.
Table of Contents
Introduction to this Edition xix
Introduction: India Shining 1
Part I Belonging to the World-Class City
1 The City Fantastic 51
2 The Enclaved Gaze: Living Abroad in India 65
3 'Insulate!' The Celebration of New Gated Habitats 91
4 Taming the Public City and other Colonial Hangovers 108
5 Ordering the City and its Citizens 127
Part II A Spiritual Mega-Experience: The Akshardham Cultural Complex
6 Who is Who at the ACC? 161
7 A Question of Authenticity 174
8 A Hierarchy of Ritual Performances 186
9 Theme Park Antecedents and Indigenous Concepts of Leisure Religion 208
10 Code-Switching and Code-Clashing 217
11 Critics and Sceptics 248
Part III 'Masti! Masti!' Managing Love, Romance and Beauty
12 'For Whom the Bell Rings': Arranging Marriage 269
13 'All You Need is Wellness' and a Good Body 307
Conclusion: 'Indianising' Modernity 325
About the Author 371