INDIA – A UNIQUE STUDY SUBJECT by Sharan Ravishankar

April 27, 2022

I want to talk about a research study that was conducted in 2019 by Placek and Ravishankar on political attitudes potentially influencing a person’s satisfaction with the government in India. This topic is fascinating because India has gone through something unique since the 1990s, specifically, economic liberalization of foreign markets that brought into the country multiple social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Using the 2018 Pew Research Center data set, the authors of the study regarded social media as an independent variable and satisfaction with the country, economic situation, and democracy, as well as confidence in the current prime minister Narendra Modi, as dependent variables. A linear regression analysis revealed that social media had significant relationships with country satisfaction and confidence in Modi. Conversely, satisfaction with democracy and economic situation did not relate to the independent variable. Interestingly, the general consensus is that social media creates more division within a given country; however, the opposite can be confirmed here: country satisfaction and confidence in leadership correlate well on social media.

One of the reasons the other variables were not statistically significant is that India, like many Asian countries, still uses “old” media, meaning newspapers, television, and other traditional ways of gathering news. This “old” media continues to sway people’s political attitudes in these Asian countries. India is still a developing country in many ways; yet, it is becoming a global leader and is open to having different mediums influence local political attitudes. It is not the same country that gained independence in 1947. With the current trends saying India will take over China when it comes to population and seeing rapid growth of social media, it will be interesting to see how all of that will affect political attitudes in the future studies. Political scientists may want to research India more than it has already been studied!


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