Adrija Dey (SOAS South Asia Institute, University of London, UK)

Nirbhaya, New Media and Digital Gender Activism

ISBN: 978-1-78754-530-4, eISBN: 978-1-78754-529-8

Publication date: 22 August 2018


Dey, A. (2018), "Prelims", Nirbhaya, New Media and Digital Gender Activism (Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy And Culture In Network Communication), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. i-xiii.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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The Digital Activism and Society: Politics, Economy and Culture in Network Communication series focuses on the political use of digital everyday-networked media by corporations, governments, international organizations (Digital Politics), as well as civil society actors, NGOs, activists, social movements and dissidents (Digital Activism) attempting to recruit, organise and fund their operations, through information communication technologies.

The series publishes books on theories and empirical case studies of digital politics and activism in the specific context of communication networks. Topics covered by the series include, but are not limited to:

  • the different theoretical and analytical approaches of political communication in digital networks;

  • studies of socio-political media movements and activism (and ‘hacktivism’);

  • transformations of older topics such as inequality, gender, class, power, identity and group belonging;

  • strengths and vulnerabilities of social networks.

Series Editor

Dr Athina Karatzogianni

About the Series Editor

Dr Athina Karatzogianni is an Associate Professor at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on the intersections between digital media theory and political economy in order to study the use of digital technologies by new sociopolitical formations.

Published Book in this Series:

Digital Materialism: Origins, Philosophies, Prospects by Baruch Gottlieb

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SOAS South Asia Institute, University of London, UK

United Kingdom – North America – Japan – India – Malaysia – China

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley BD16 1WA, UK

First edition 2018

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

ISBN: 978-1-78754-530-4 (Print)

ISBN: 978-1-78754-529-8 (Online)

ISBN: 978-1-78754-717-9 (EPub)


I dedicate this book to my father. He reminded me every day to never give up the pursuit of knowledge. It is because of his unconditional belief that I have been able to embark on this journey. It is also his activism, his politics, his ideologies and his faith in knowledge that has motivated me to choose this path.

I also want to dedicate this book to my mother. She is the only reason why I am here today. I cannot thank her enough for always having faith in me and being such a magnificent role model. She will forever be my greatest inspiration.


I wish to thank my PhD supervisor, Dr Athina Karatzogianni, for her constant support and encouragement. This book would not be possible without her belief in my work and her guidance. I also wish to thank my second supervisor, Dr Bev Orton.

I wish to thank Professor Rosie Thomas for being the most wonderful mentor and for her advice, encouragement and love.

I want to thank each and every person and organisation interviewed for this research. Thank you for sharing your brave personal stories and views. Your courage and amazing work inspire me every single day.

Finally, I also wish to thank my family, my wonderful grandparents and my friends for their support and unconditional love.

About the Author

Adrija Dey is a British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the SOAS South Asia Institute, University of London, UK. Her current research is based on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Indian Universities and explores how university campuses relate to the broader context and debates surrounding women in public spaces, sexual- and gender-based violence, and institutional structures and responses. Previously Adrija worked as a Lecturer in New Media at Birmingham City University and a Research Associate for the Chevening South Asia Journalism Programme at the University of Westminster. She completed her PhD in Media, Culture and Society from the University of Hull. While pursuing her Masters in Creative Systems from the University of Sussex, she developed a strong interest in interdisciplinary research particularly related to gender, social media and digital technologies. Originally from Calcutta, India, Adrija has been associated with political and gender activism as a student and that has greatly influenced her research interests.


Sociopolitical activism has been crucial in shaping the structure of contemporary Indian society. Over the last few decades, while information and communication technologies (ICTs) and social media have been increasingly popular and a widely used tool for activism around the world, it is only in the recent past that people have started using these technologies as an alternative platform for activism in India. One of the most extensive uses of digital technologies was witnessed in the nationwide protests in India after the Delhi Nirbhaya rape case on 16 December 2012, making it one of the biggest gender movements that the country has witnessed. The focus of this research is to investigate the use of ICTs and social media by civil society actors, activists and organisations specifically for gender activism in India. The cyberconflict framework (Karatzogianni 2006, 2015) forms the foundation of this research. However, this framework was not built with a gender focus and to explore the use of digital technologies specifically for gender activism; it was crucial to advance the theoretical foundation of the cyberconflict framework for it to create a broader understanding of the relation between social movements, gender and ICTs. For the purpose of this study, the protests after the Nirbhaya rape case on 16 December 2012 have been considered as a primary case study. Further data were collected from various online resources such as news reports published online, videos, articles on blogs, posts on social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter and by conducting semi-structured interviews with organisations and individual participants. Further thematic analysis was used to understand the nature and impact of use of ICTs and social media for gender activism in India.