Chapman, Jane (2011) Counter hegemony, newspapers and the origins of anti-colonialism in French India. International Journal of Social Economics, 38 (2). pp. 128-139. ISSN 0306-8293
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03068291111092007
Purpose: to reveal the contribution of counter-hegemonic communications towards the origins of anti-colonialism in French India during the years 1935-7 and thereby to illuminate the relationship between press, economics and ideology in a colonial context.
Design/methodology: qualitative study of local archives in Tamil and French, including indigenous print communications such as the workers’ paper Swandanthiram. These are used as a prism for analysis of the development of a workers’ public voice during major textile strikes, and assessed in the light of John Downing’s definitions of advocacy journalism (1984, 2001).
Findings: Communications were directly connected to disempowerment and lack of civil, political and economic rights. The formation of legal worker organisations for the first time and a new political party provided the context in which activist leaders adopted a twofold vertical and lateral strategy in their publications, to promote their formative anti-colonial ideas.
Research limitations/implications: This research illuminates the relationship between press, economics and ideology in a colonial context, demonstrating the importance of economic factors in rise of nationalist movements and the way press usage is connected to basic civil, political and economic rights.
The paper traces a forgotten episode in the history of a neglected corner of French empire, significant for the emergence of the indigenous population -including peasant women - for the first time from the private to the public sphere as an organised force- a factor that has previously been ignored by historians.
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