Monday, June 11, 2018

This new wave of Mobilisation in Kashmir – Is it Religious or Political?

Kashmir Valley has been witnessing a decade of popular mobilization starting from 2008 and continuing till date. There have been continuous cycle of protests and killing in 2008, 2010, 2013 and even in 2016.

To name a few, in 2008, protests in the Valley against the transfer of land to the Amarnath shrine board mounted into violence that left close to 70 civilians dead. The 2010 protests, which were a reaction to the Machil fake encounter peaked at the death of an innocent, 17-year-old Tufail Mattoo from a tear gas canister. The protests left around 120 civilians dead. Then in 2013, the protests triggered by the execution of Afzal Guru were controlled by stepping up security and putting in place an indefinite curfew in the Kashmir Valley. Afzal Guru’s issue found a vent in 2016 and another significant factor that fed into the 2016 protests was the sentiment that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had betrayed the people’s mandate by allying with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to form the state government.

All of these protests and killings have only led to deepening of polarisation between a Hindu Jammu and a Muslim Valley, however the history of the conflict in Kashmir is convoluted and goes back to the Treaty of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir on 26 October 1947. 

This article from the journal ‘Social Change’ seeks to analyse this new wave of popular mobilisation in the Kashmir Valley, the article aims to locate the causal factors leading to such mobilisation; and explore the role of religion therein.

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Are online reviews affecting your brand image?

Rapid growth of online communication has connected consumers through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and so on. Consumers are mostly indulged in informal communication about brands in the form of online product reviews, where they share their experiences of such brands in various brand communities, brand pages and other online social media platforms. Such reviews are mostly referred to by consumers while they are making a purchase so it is highly probable that these can influence the consumer’s purchasing decision.

Consumers generally give their opinions on various brands through online reviews, which creates an image of the brand in consumer’s mind. 

‘Brand image is the overall perception that consumers have of a brand, and its uniqueness in comparison to the other brands.’ It can be divided into functional brand image and hedonic brand image. Functional brand image concentrates on the consumer’s knowledge and beliefs about the functional aspects of the brand whereas hedonic brand image stresses on consumer’s sentiments, affections and emotions towards a brand. This article from the journal 'IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review' attempts to examine the effects of online reviews on both functional and hedonic aspects of brand image. The study in this article follows a mixed method approach using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Quantitative techniques have been used to measure the objective experiences of the consumers, whereas qualitative techniques have been used to examine the subjective experiences of the consumers. 

The study concludes that online credible reviews affect consumer’s brand decision and thus play a decisive role on purchase intentions. Marketers should include social media marketing strategy in their marketing mix and should be able to maintain their credibility in the online space.

Register here to read full article.

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