Sagorika is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The Sarai Programme, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi as well as an affiliate at the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life (CITAP), UNC, Chapel Hill.
She completed her PhD at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University (2020). Her research focuses on digital cultures, new media forms, mobile media cultures, media infrastructures, and subcultural politics. Her current work looks at the Indian YouTubers’ impact on local creative industries, media materialities and transnational/national geographies. Previously, she was a Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS), Bochum. She is also a core member of the Reading Northeast India Collective.
Platforms such as YouTube, which constitute an indispensable accessory of our experiential, social, economic every day, are increasingly capturing the political imaginations of young India. A recent report from NYU STERN outlines how the platform has been weaponised to fuel anti-Muslim hatred in India (Barrett & Hendrix, 2022). Assam has been brewing with “cartographic anxieties” from the perceived threat of infiltration from Bangladeshi Muslims. In specific, the threats of losing indigenous identities (Krishna 1994). Local Assamese YouTubers increasingly use their affective subjectivities to appeal to their subscribers in the process establishing themselves as new age creative entrepreneurs. Often, they express those same anxieties through their content. However, scholars are yet to comprehend the elements of this mobilisation through local YouTubers. My project at IRGAC, Aspirational Labour, Affective Regional Subjectivities, and the Making of the Creative Entrepreneur Class in Neoliberal India: The Case of the Assamese YouTubers, by analysing Assamese YouTubers as an emerging creative entrepreneur class fills this gap. Through my research I am developing this conceptual category. Through an ethnography of these YouTubers, placing them within the context of labour, digital culture studies and media infrastructure studies, I uncover the configuration of new creative entrepreneurs within such platforms—unveiling the interplay among labour, media infrastructures, local creative industries, media materialities and transnational/national geographies. The project maps the creation of a new class of creative entrepreneurs to show how the ideological and affective dimensions of global authoritarianism are established within a larger network facilitated by platform economies.