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Media and Moral Atmosphere: Interdiction and Reproduction in a Pakistani Marketplace

Cooper, Timothy Peter Alexander; (2020) Media and Moral Atmosphere: Interdiction and Reproduction in a Pakistani Marketplace. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis develops an interdisciplinary approach to the technical and social grounds of media circulation, through the study of the reproduction of secular and religious film and media in conditions hostile to their spread. While I set out to explore the forms of guardianship and mediation fostered by media informality in Pakistan, the research came to focus on the relationship between audio-visual media, popular piety, and community ethics that became entangled in the marketplace trade in Pakistani film. Through a repertoire that includes film as well as other kinds of religious media, this thesis attempts to understand the relationship between ethical interdiction and marketplace reproduction. Through ethnographic study among independent traders on Lahore’s Hall Road, a vast and diverse electronics and media marketplace, and among religious media traders in denominationally homogenous communities, this thesis tells the story of the marketplace circulation of Pakistani media and the associated moral atmospheres and ethical characteristics of social life that film and media have the power to shape. The conditions of māḥaul are central to this intimate ethnography of the relationship between public morality and the circulation of media. While the word has come to be used in ways akin to the English word for environment, in its usage it is closer to the idea of a moral atmosphere. Each of Pakistan’s religiously diverse communities and denominational schools of thought have their own nuanced take on the appropriate place of media in the enactment and endurance of faith. To such orthodoxies, the elemental conditions of media, as well as mediums through which popular culture transmits and transforms itself, proffer an expanded environmental space riven with challenges and possibilities for action with little clear precedent in received rules governing moral conduct. Through ethnographic research into the contours of media and moral ecology in Lahore this thesis provides insights into the ambient ethics of communal practice, and how these can be shaped or broken by the circulation of media.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Media and Moral Atmosphere: Interdiction and Reproduction in a Pakistani Marketplace
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097100
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