The Globally Familiar

Digital Hip Hop, Masculinity, and Urban Space in Delhi

The Globally Familiar

Book Pages: 272 Illustrations: 17 illustrations Published: October 2020

Anthropology, Asian Studies > South Asia, Cultural Studies

In The Globally Familiar Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan traces how the rapid development of information and communication technologies in India have created opportunities for young people to creatively explore their gendered, classed, and racialized subjectivities in and through transnational media worlds. His ethnography focuses on a group of diverse young, working-class men in Delhi as they take up the African diasporic aesthetics and creative practices of hip hop. Dattatreyan shows how these aspiring b-boys, MCs, and graffiti writers—as they fashion themselves and their city as familiar through their online and offline experimentations with hip hop—access new social, economic, and political opportunities while acting as consumers, producers, and influencers in global circuits of capitalism. In so doing, Dattatreyan outlines how the hopeful, creative, and vitally embodied practices of hip hop offer an alternative narrative of urban place-making in ‘digital’ India.


“A rich narrative of urban transformation told from the perspectives of young men in the margins of Delhi. This lucid ethnography illuminates how hip hop and digital media entangle cultural worlds and redefine classed masculinity. A riveting read with cross-disciplinary appeal, The Globally Familiar opens new perspectives about urbanity from below.” — Radha S. Hegde, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

“Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan has produced a wonderfully rich, nuanced narrative of Delhi's hip hop scene. Engaging with young men from India, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, and Nepal, The Globally Familiar is not only brilliantly and elegantly theorized but methodologically innovative and sophisticated. Combining the tradition of ‘hiphopography’ with digital production and participation, Dattatreyan's narrative not only bristles with insights about youth cultural production vis-à-vis race, masculinity, capitalism, and the global; it also pushes global hip hop studies to the next level by demonstrating the power of sustained commitment to both the culture and those who produce it. The Globally Familiar is a rare gem.” — H. Samy Alim, David O. Sears Presidential Endowed Chair in the Social Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles


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Open Access

Spring 2020 Sale
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-1120-0 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-1015-9