Exploring the Political Publics: An Ethnographic Study of Thuglak’s Annual Meetings

This paper explores the intricate interplay between mass-mediated communication, the formation of publics, and the political landscape within the culturally diverse and politically vibrant state of Tamil Nadu, located in Southern India. The study focuses on the unique context provided by the annual readers’ meetings of the vernacular political satire journal, Thuglak. Employing a comprehensive political ethnography approach, the paper uncovers a complex web of interactions, ideologies, and identity formation that shape the publics of Thuglak. The paper further reveals that the political character of the journal’s readership is profoundly influenced by the journal’s core tenets, particularly Brahminism and Hindutva. Through a nuanced exploration of the Thuglak readers’ meetings, the paper contributes to a broader understanding of the role of mass-mediated communication in shaping public sentiment and, subsequently, the political landscape in Tamil Nadu. This study serves as a testament to the powerful influence of local media in shaping the political destiny of a region and underscores the critical importance of examining such connections in an increasingly interconnected and globalised world.