The cultural impacts of digital media

6 Sep 2017

In an ERC-funded project, Sahana Udupa, Professor of Media Ethnology at LMU, is investigating the multifaceted cultural impact of digital media. The venture will include a regular series of podcasts, the first of which is now available.

What sorts of effect have these new forms of communication had on the public sphere in the few decades since their advent? What influence have global media had on national consciousness and intercommunal relations in different countries?

Sahana Udupa is exploring these and related issues in her project “Faith Online: Transnational Religious Politics on New Media in India and Europe” (“Onlinerpol”). The undertaking is supported by a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), and focuses on India – a country with more than 350 million online media users, and in which social media are playing an ever increasing role. As Udupa points out, “25 million Indian citizens use Twitter, and in this way contribute, day by day, to public debates.”

The online platform is an integral part of the project, and is designed to provide an impartial forum for the exchange of views which is not aligned with any political or economic interests. A new series of podcasts, entitled “Online Gods” and moderated by anthropologist Ian Cook, has now begun on the platform. This opening podcast looks at two topics: the opportunities and the challenges posed by big data – the compilation, analysis and exploitation of massive troves of online data – in India, and the differences between traditional media and their online editions, as exemplified by the online version of an Indian women’s magazine. A new podcast will be available every month, and it is hoped that the series will bring together academics and experts on the ground.

The podcast “Online Gods” is now available on :

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