Aesthetics of Arrival: Spectacle, Capital, Novelty in Post-reform India
Special issue of Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Volume 23, Issue 3, 2016: 'Aesthetics of Arrival: Spectacle, Capital, Novelty in Post-reform India'
Edited by Ravinder Kaur and Thomas Blom Hansen
India’s celebrated ‘arrival on the global stage’ as a desirable ‘emerging market’ for global investors signals the spectacular moment that is said to have ruptured the barriers between the first and third worlds. If the notion of arrival anticipates the long-awaited acceleration in the pace of history, it also harnesses a euphoric India to the limitless future promised by the new.
In this special issue, we set our focus on the aesthetics of arrival that signal novelty, visibility and celebration of post-reform India within and outside the nation. We ask how novelty is manufactured and experienced when the majority of the population remains excluded from new India. The answer probably lies in the way in which this other India is signified as the past, as ‘old India’ that holds back the nation. The novelty, we propose, is not only experienced in the promise of the future, but also in the aesthetic force of the promise to overcome a humiliating past, tainted by colonialism, in order to realise a truer and more timeless ‘new’ India.