Journal article / (OA) How Sabarimala Temple Entry Issue Played Out on TikTok

Vijay, Darsana, and Alex Gekker. ‘Playing Politics: How Sabarimala Played Out on TikTok’. American Behavioral Scientist. Published ahead of print, 25 January 2021.

Abstract (edited): TikTok is commonly known as a playful, silly platform where teenagers share 15-second videos of crazy stunts or act out funny snippets from popular culture. In the past few years, it has experienced exponential growth and popularity, unseating Facebook as the most downloaded app.

Interestingly, recent news coverage notes the emergence of TikTok as a political actor in the Indian context. They raise concerns over the abundance of divisive content, hate speech, and the lack of platform accountability in countering these issues.

In this article, we analyse how politics is performed on TikTok and how the platform’s design shapes such expressions and their circulation. What does the playful architecture of TikTok mean to the nature of its political discourse and participation?

To answer this, we review existing academic work on play, media, and political participation. We situate our examination of TikTok within the contentious issue of women’s entry into Sabarimala [in Kerala], a temple that women of menstruating age are barred from entering on religious grounds. We examine the case of Sabarimala through the double lens of ludic engagement and platform-specific features.

The efficacy of play as a productive heuristic to study political contention on social media platforms is demonstrated. Finally, we turn to ludo-literacy as a potential strategy that can reveal the structures that order playful political participation and can initiate alternative modes of playing politics.

More info and full text (OA):

Reposted from Kerala Scholars eGroup


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