Fintech and the Mediation of

Fintech and the Mediation of 'Life Itself'

Bhaskar Sarkar

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Bunche Hall Room 10383

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Emerging fintech infrastructures, in enabling an unprecedented adoption of the objectives and modalities of finance in decidedly non-financial domains, are inducing a fundamental transformation gradually extending to various aspects of life. How might frameworks and insights from media studies help understand this fintech revolution? Focusing on the IMF-backed India Stack initiative, I will explore the potentialities and perils of fintech's proposed makeover of society--its mediation of life itself--according to its narrow, focalized exigencies. Analyzing the processual materiality of this far-reaching mediation, I will also speculate on a) what such shifts might mean for sectors like education and health with pronounced "public good" characteristics; and b) how effective might governance, retooled as a platform of service apps, prove to be, notwithstanding the breathless promises of speed and efficiency, expediency and inclusivity.

Bhaskar Sarkar, Professor of Film and Media Studies, UC Santa Barbara, works in the areas of Indian cinema, post/de-colonial media, the global South, cultures of uncertainty, piracy, and queer subcultures. He is the author of Mourning the Nation: Indian Cinema in the Wake of Partition (Duke, 2009), and the coeditor of Documentary Testimonies (Routledge, 2009), Asian Video Cultures (Duke, 2017), and Routledge Companion to Media and Risk (Routledge, 2020). Sarkar is currently finishing up the draft of his next monograph, Cosmoplastics: Bollywood's Global Gesture.

Sponsor(s): Center for India and South Asia

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