This thesis explores identity and subjectivity as constructed in media texts through the discursive tensions of power/knowledge, self/other. The study traces identity representations in media texts and maps the discursive tensions that aim at the production of subjectivity. The central questions pursued in this thesis are as follows: How far are media measures to 'govern' successful in crafting identities of Indian women? How do counter discourses operate within media texts to create resistance to given identity notions and, in the process, help form new subject positions? Finally, given such discursive tensions what are the implications for critical reading practice? A specific question posed by this thesis is: In postulating alternative subjectivities how can difference be read in media texts?
Utilizing the theories provided by Foucault, Deleuze and Guattari as framework for analysis, this study investigates the discursive construction of the subject and the fluid, rhizomatic possibilities offered through resistant discourses. The study offers a contextual study of the colonial orientations of the Indian media and a postcolonial, poststructuralist feminist perspective to postulate Indian women as complex, ambivalent, and heterogeneous identities.
Using data from Indian media texts, interviews with media personnel, and women entrepreneurs, this study aims at discourse and critical discourse analysis of hegemonic media texts. To promote a deeper understanding of the issues of power/knowledge, identity and subjectivity, a substantial analysis is conducted through textual, intertextual and visual analysis. To advance a deeper discernment of the themes central to the study, and to move beyond ideology critique, interviews with key stakeholders are analysed. Significantly, through a close and resistant reading, representations of the passive, subaltern Indian women who cannot speak, women as living a self-reliant, self-disciplined life demanded by the current discourses of ‘New Times' and the discursive constructs of the 'new' Indian woman are challenged. Counter perspectives to the discourses of patriarchy and femininity are provided in this thesis by proposing the discourses of difference, termed as the discourses of 'being' and 'becoming'.
The results of the analysis of text, images, and interviews suggest multiple 'lines of flight' that form within media discourses. The study argues that media constitute subtle and complex set of dialectical practices that demand closer study, and present day constructions of subjectivity in media are complex constructions of power operatives and resistant discourses. The study concludes by recommending the importance of an ongoing, resistant reading practice.