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The Algebra of Warfare-WelfareA Long View of India's 2014 Election$
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Irfan Ahmad and Pralay Kanungo

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780199489626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199489626.001.0001

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On Studying Elections and Democracy

On Studying Elections and Democracy

A Conversation with T.K. Oommen

Chapter:
(p.334) 12 On Studying Elections and Democracy
Source:
The Algebra of Warfare-Welfare
Author(s):

R. Thirunavukkarasu

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199489626.003.0013

This conversation between R. Thirunavukkarasu and T.K. Oommen underscores the sociological significance of analysing electoral democracy. Electoral studies pre-supposes democracy which is a recent phenomenon; as recent as 2000, only 58 per cent of the world’s population had electoral democracies. These factors explain the rickety level of election studies in sociology. In West European countries, wherein democracy flourishes the co-terminality between political and cultural boundaries is either a fact or an ideal. However, in India cultural pluralism is both a fact and a valued goal. The three-tier Indian polity—local, provincial (linguistic states), and national—witnesses different behaviours. Along with factors such as class, gender, age, and rural–urban differences which are common to democracies, the specificity of caste is important in India. In addition to the horizontal factors, caste divides voters vertically and the intersectionality among these factors increases the complexity of democracy and electoral behaviour. The conversation also discusses the forthcoming 2019 general election.

Keywords:   electoral behaviour, social structure, cultural pluralism, three-tier Indian polity, horizontal and vertical variables and intersectionality

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