Browse Articles

Democracy, Elections, and Voting

For over twenty years, Cultural Anthropology has published a wide range of essays in which its authors approach the practices of voting, elections, and democratic institutions in innovative ways. For example, a cultural politics of the ‘voice’ - arguably the cornerstone of democratic practice - has been critically examined by Hervé Varenne (1987) in “Talk and Real Talk,” and more recently by Laura Kunreuther (2007) in “Technologies of the Voice.” Essays have also considered alternative modes of democratization as with the vigilantism richly analyzed by Daniel Jordan Smith in “The Bakassi Boys” (2004). Additionally, a number of authors have looked at the instructive relationship between dance and democracy; see “Democratizing Dance” by Deborah A. Thomas (2004), “Multipartyism and Nostalgia for the Unified Past” by Clare A. Ignatowski (2002) and “Politics without a Head” by John Borneman and Stefan Senders (2000). Other key topics addressed in this rich corpus include the uses and effects of quantitative technologies, racial ideologies and their implications for political representation, and the intersection of public politics and private consumption. 

-Rodney Collins, February 2008

"The Taste No Chef Can Give": Processing Street Food in Mumbai

Race, Sovereignty, and Civil Rights: Understanding the Cherokee Freedmen Controversy

The Rhythmic Beat of the Revolution in Iran

Physical Training, Ethical Discipline, and Creative Violence: Zones of Self-Mastery in the Hindu Nationalist Movement

Inscribing Subjects to Citizenship: Petitions, Literacy Activism, and the Performativity of Signature in Rural Tamil India

The Face of Money: Currency, Crisis, and Remediation in Post-Suharto Indonesia

Watching U.S. Television From the Palestinian Street: The Media, the State and Representational Interventions

Repossession: Notes on Restoration and Redemption in Ukraine's Western Borderland

Technologies of the Voice: FM Radio, Telephone, and the Nepali Diaspora in Kathmandu

Empty Citizenship: Protesting Politics in the Era of Globalization

Election Day: The Construction of Democracy through Technique

The Bakassi Boys: Vigilantism, Violence, and Political Imagination in Nigeria

Multipartyism and Nostalgia for the Unified Past: Discourses of Democracy in a Dance Association in Cameroon

Democratizing Dance: Institutional Transformation and Hegemonic Re-Ordering in Postcolonial Jamaica

Democratizing Dance: Institutional Transformation and Hegemonic Re-Ordering in Postcolonial Jamaica

Making Democracy Count: Opinion Polls and Market Surveys in the Chilean Political Transition

Beyond Identity Fetishism: “Communal” Conflict in Ladakh and the Limits of Autonomy

Politics without a Head: Is the “Love Parade” a New Form of Political Identification?

Executing Ethnicity: The Killings in Suriname

Cultural Citizenship and Educational Democracy

Whose History? Whose Voice? Myth and Resistance in the Rise of the New Left in Mexico

Race, Rubbish, and Resistance: Empowering Difference in Community Politics

Representation and Politics: Contesting Histories of the Iroquois

National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity Among Scholars and Refugees

The Art of Being Indirect: Talking about Politics in Brazil

Talk and Real Talk: The Voices of Silence and the Voices of Power in American Family Life