[iDC] Fwd: voting as an act of citizenship, perhaps? cont.

Janet Hawtin lucychili at gmail.com
Sat Jan 5 15:02:33 UTC 2008

On Jan 5, 2008 6:36 PM, Stephen Coleman <S.Coleman at leeds.ac.uk> wrote:
> Having the opportunity to perform (or choose not to perform) this minimal gesture is hugely more democratic than being denied it. It is not, as I see it, a 'tedious irrelevance' to have access to a mechanism which, when it works, can throw out bad governments, affirm popular values and aggregate priorities. In this sense, I might be described as a reformer rather than an abolitionist - because a) voting is a social reality which needs to be understood rather than ignored and b) minimal gestures of representation can sometimes be made less minimal through reflexivity.

Hi Stephen
I am probably in a different context
In Australia voting is compulsory. There are penalties if you don't.
So the emphasis on having something of real significance to vote for
or participate in is for me
something more useful than incentives or celebration of the voting itself.

The relevance of voting is discussed because very often people are:
Voting between choices they dont agree with
Voting for a group which will not get sufficient votes for the vote to
represent an opportunity for the candidate
Voting where there is no significant difference between candidates
Voting for someone who does not talk about what really they intend to
do if they are elected.
Voting for someone who represents lobby interests for the rest of their term
Voting for a good person who does not have the numbers to effect a
difference in policies passed.

The connection between the dog and the wag is tenuous and the things
our nations are doing
because we give them this minimal gesture of authority are serious and
frequently destructive.
Given that in this model it becomes difficult NOT to rubber stamp the
existing momentum I am
wondering about more subtle means of representation and ways for
people to explore other choices.

> We see voting as an act that has been under-studied from an affective and aesthetic perspective. Too much has been written about the mechanics and arithmetic of voting choices and not enough about the experiential dimension. One of our research aims to ask people - many and diverse people - about their memories of voting (not just in political elections, but many other contexts as well) and their desires for more satisfying gestures of representation - by others and by themselves. It's a concept-building exercise. It's about giving flesh and blood to a democratic skeleton.

Yes I can see that making people think about the act and perhaps
thereby what happens after it is
something which would be interesting. Good luck.


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