With the elections in the US less than three weeks away, the idea of “democracy” has been on my mind a lot. And, considering recent events like this (which isn’t exactly getting a lot of press coverage), I am thinking a lot about the ideals of democracy versus the actual practice of democracy–here in the US and elsewhere. There’s certainly a lot underneath and behind all of the rhetoric of democracy–and I think anthropology is a good tool for taking a deeper look into what’s going on.
So here’s my idea: How about doing a bit of a collaborative project about democracy and anthropology? My idea here is to do a series of posts and open threads here on SM that explore the histories, practices, and meanings of democracy from an anthropological perspective. My goal is to encourage a lot of participation from the SM readership–and hopefully from others in the anthro-blogosphere. We can use the upcoming elections in the US as a point of departure, but by no means should this discussion be limited to the USA.
I was reading this post by Jason Antrosio this morning (which is a good example of taking anthropology to discussions about politics), and it made me ask myself: “You know, there are a LOT of anthropologists out there–I wonder what they’re thinking about all of this?” What are you all thinking about this? How can we ignite a conversation about the meaning of the d-word? So I am thinking of a sort of crowd-sourced, participatory, spur-of-the-moment-anthropology-in-the-streets series on democracy.
Maybe we could use this first post to share some links, sources, and readings that cover the theme of anthropology and democracy? Or feel free to just chime in and give me a yay or nay on this idea. Please pass this around via Facebook, twitter, etc. I’d like to see if we can generate some interest here and maybe build up a bit of a collaborative effort. Maybe we can pull in some folks from the OAC, or Neuroanthropology, or Living Anthropologically, or Ethnography.com, or…???
What do you think, readers of SM? Are you game?
UPDATE 10/20/12: Check out the discussion about this over at the OAC.