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A Content Analysis of the Portrayal of India in Films Produced in the West

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A content analysis of randomly selected films (N = 24) about India produced from 1930–2000 in the US or UK was undertaken to examine the social construction of “Indian-ness.” There were significant inter-group differences in depictions of Indian versus non-Indian scenes (N = 1016) and Indian versus non-Indian characters (N = 421) across several socio-cultural variables such as character role, occupation, poverty, religious practices, and pollution. Overall, India was consistently portrayed as backward, uncivilized, savage, and traditional. These patterns of stereotypical portrayals of India across films are discussed in the context of schema theory, social identity theory, and cultural colonization.

Keywords: India; content analysis; films; media portrayals; stereotypes

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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