Accepted Paper:

The intellectual elite, uncertainty, anxiety and changing power positions  


Kerstin B Andersson (Uppsala University)

Paper Short Abstract:

Examining the intellectual elite in Kolkata, this paper deals with uncertainty, anxiety and fear of loosing status and positions provoked by external factors, changing contexts in terms of globalisation, new technologies and transforming social structures.

Paper long abstract:

During the last decades, new forms of media as satellite channels, private TV, Internet and social media as Facebook and Twitter have gained an increasing importance among elite groups in Kolkata. The new communication forms cut across traditional and national communities and transcend geographical boundaries, initiating interaction on a global and transnational level. The changes in form and content of communication affect the intellectual category. The framework for intellectual performances, the social composition of the intellectual category and the ideological contours of intellectual life are reshaped. The taken for granted life-world, the habitus, is disrupted, giving way to uncertainity, anxiety and new areas for contesting of meaning are opened up. Perceptions of power and status positions, within the intellectual field as well as in the wider social universe, are transformed. New hierarchies, divisions and configurations appear.

The topic will be explored through the specific ethnographic context of the 2011 elections in West Bengal, when the CPI, dominated by radical intellectuals, was overthrown by the neo- liberal Trinamul congress. Media and social media played a significant role in both parties' election campaign.

Panel IW006
Anxiety at the top (EN)