#MeToo India: The limits of analysis

In this paper, we study tweets with the hashtag #metooindia, towards understanding the #metoo phenomenon as it has unfolded/unfolds in India. This study by Nayantara Ranganathan (researcher and lawyer working on the politics and culture of technologies) with support from data-analyst Piyush Aggarwal, was commissioned by All Women Count-Take Back The Tech! (AWC-TBTT!) project at the Association for Progressive Communications Women’s Rights Programme (APC WRP). Through quantitative methods, we examine the possibilities, limits and contradictions of studying a movement through a dataset of tweets centred around a phrase.

The hashtag #metooindia and the public and private conversations that it sparked assembled widespread righteous anger around the prevalence of rape culture and misogyny in India. People’s disillusionment with the “due process” of law opened up a collective space for personal testimony and validation. But such a collective eruption quickly called forth many other reckonings: of complicity, of punitive justice, of a lack of significant participation beyond upper caste Hindu women’s lives and professional worlds and so on.

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