Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

NEW DATES: 28-30 June 2021

Panel: Banal democracies: Beyond Electoral Temporality

Conveners: Frauke Mennes and Asmus Randløv Rungby, PhD fellows, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen

Democracy’s sine qua non seems to be elections. Unsurprisingly, this has led us to study democratic practices through the lens of elections (Coles 2004), that spectacle of democratic fervor. This panel asks what happens beyond these cycles of explicit democratic skirmishing. What kind of practices and discourses, which though embedded in democratic institutions, do not move to the beat of electoral rhythms? What, in other words, happens when we center those democratic politics which unfold with different temporalities? How are political fault lines, popularities and narratives reconfigured, in the more banal democratic spaces away from the spectacle? What kind of events or non-events do they respond to? What actors are active in these spaces and what frameworks do they engage?

We invite contributions from anybody working on democratic politics and polities in Asia and Africa. Rather than denying the importance of the electoral spectacle for democracy and the study thereof, we want to engage in a conversation of what happens when we turn our gaze to what happens beyond.