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Slumdog Millionaire: The rhetoric of chance or sentimental management of inequalities in pulp fiction

Sławomir Magala (Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 6 April 2010




The purpose of this paper is to reinterpret rhetorical inventions in global multimedia and to re‐conceptualize the theoretical analysis of processes of sentimental representation of global inequalities, unfair terms of exchange and attempts to balance them (“Bollywood” of Mumbai vs Hollywood of LA).


Philosophical and qualitative analysis of the rhetoric of communication forged by global power games and applied to symbolic strategies of resistance, with a case study of a particular highly successful movie in global multimedia network, namely Slumdog Millionaire, which had been coproduced jointly by professionals from the former “colonial power” (the UK) and from the former “conquered colony” (India) in order to challenge the latest superpower (Hollywood and the USA).


Yesterday's underdogs are talking back and winning the symbolic game of multimediated communications by inserting a new professionally shaped response to the international inequalities laid bare and exposed to a growing critique. However, the ironies of the international division of labor and local cultural contexts can turn “sweatshops” into “boudoirs” subverting the rhetoric of Western domination. More Bollywood‐like strategies are needed to redress the imbalance.


Apart from the very specialist studies in the aesthetics of the film as an art form, this is the first attempt to demonstrate the common theme of resistance to the dominant rhetoric of multimedia industries on the level of coding symbolic meanings and disseminating them through aesthetically successful cultural commodities by groups and regions “cast” in subordinate roles by cultural industries.



Magala, S. (2010), "Slumdog Millionaire: The rhetoric of chance or sentimental management of inequalities in pulp fiction", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 152-156.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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