Conference: Asia and Africa in Transition

Panel: Banal democracies: Beyond Electoral Temporality

Conveners: Frauke Mennes and Asmus Randløv Rungby, 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.

Panel programme

Session 1: 29 June, 13:15-15:15 (Copenhagen time/CEST)

Title Presenter
Short Introduction Frauke Mennes and Asmus Rungby
Neither Tragedy Nor Farce? The Contradictions of Bourgeois Democracy in ‘Naya Pakistan’ Raza Naeem
Anti-communism as a firewall against populism? Continuity and changes in anti-communism in South Korea Chang Rhyong Oh
Moving at the speed of coughing frogs – Considering the intersecting timelines of Malaysian statecraft and COVID responses as dynamics of the 2020 Malaysian political crisis Asmus Randløv Rungby
Lese-Majesté and the Democratization of the Tibetan Exile Politics Sonika Gupta
“Messengers of the people”? The practice of parliamentary representation in the Central African Republic Aly Verjee

Session 2: 29 June, 15:30-17:30 (Copenhagen time/CEST)

Title Presenter
Democracy amidst Transition: Understanding Political Change in India Shilajit Sengupta

Urgently need oxygen support bed in or near Delhi. Please DM.’ Pandemic politics and death on Indian social media

Frauke Mennes
Gendered Institutions and Women’s Political Representation in Africa Diana Höjlund Madsen
Discussion across papers