Uses of (Media) Technology in Constructing Diasporic Home in the Shorter Fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri
Abstract: Use of technology is an indispensable feature of modernity. But communities imagined along modern lines use technology in multifarious ways, be it print or digital technology. Benedict Anderson in his pathbreaking study of how nation socio-culturally comes into being stresses the decisive role print technology (in the form of newspaper and realist novel) plays in constructing the community of nations. In a globalized world, however, the role of print technology in imagining larger collectivities as well as home is being fast replaced by information and media technology. Nowhere are such uses of the later technologies perhaps as prominent as in diasporas. Diasporic communities, though largely defined by the parameter of deterritorialization, attempt to appropriate and use technology (especially media technology) with a view to “producing locality,” to borrow from Arjun Appadurai. That is to say, diasporas resort to technology to cope with the often traumatic sense of dislocation and minimize the overwhelming sense of insecurity in an alien cultural environment. In the present article, I intend to look closely at the uses of technology in general and media technology in particular by Indian/South Asian diaspora in some of the short stories of Jhumpa Lahiri. The more precise critical agenda here is to examine how Indian/South Asian diaspora utilizes (media) technology to construct “home” or a sense of “homeness” in the selected stories.
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Published in December 2015