Radiant Infrastructures

Media, Environment, and Cultures of Uncertainty

Radiant Infrastructures

Sign, Storage, Transmission

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Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 86 illustrations Published: April 2020

Author: Rahul Mukherjee

Asian Studies > South Asia, Environmental Studies, Media Studies > Media Technologies

In Radiant Infrastructures Rahul Mukherjee explores how the media coverage of nuclear power plants and cellular phone antennas in India—what he calls radiant infrastructures—creates environmental publics: groups of activists, scientists, and policy makers who use media to influence public opinion. In documentaries, lifestyle television shows, newspapers, Bollywood films, and through other forms of media (including radiation sensing technologies), these publics articulate contesting views about the relationships between modernity, wireless signals, and nuclear power. From testimonies of cancer patients who live close to cell towers to power plant operators working to contain information about radiation leaks and health risks, discussions in the media show radiant infrastructures are at once harbingers of optimism about India's development and emitters of potentially carcinogenic radiation. In tracing these dynamics, Mukherjee expands understandings of the relationship between media and infrastructure and how people make sense of their everyday encounters with technology and the environment.


“With an inventive interdisciplinary approach and engaging literary style, Rahul Mukherjee presents the new concept and analytical device of radiant infrastructures. His book makes an important contribution to media and infrastructure studies by providing new understandings of infrastructure as a radiant system.” — Jennifer Gabrys, author of Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet

“Drawing on wide-ranging ethnographic and media research, Rahul Mukherjee has crafted an insightful account of what ‘radiant infrastructures’ like cell phone towers and nuclear reactors tell us about India's media ecology. Tracking environmental controversies surrounding new technologies, Mukherjee does a superb job of analyzing the role of media in shaping new cultures of uncertainty in countries like India. A major contribution to media studies, environmental studies, and critical infrastructure studies, this book is sure to inspire scholars interested in media technologies and politics in South Asia and beyond.” — Aswin Punathambekar, author of From Bombay to Bollywood: The Making of a Global Media Industry


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Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
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Rahul Mukherjee is Dick Wolf Assistant Professor of Television and New Media at the University of Pennsylvania.

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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0806-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0762-3