This book sets out to unearth the hidden genealogies of democracy, and particularly its most widely recognized, commonly discussed and deeply symbolic act, voting. By exploring the gaps between voting and recognition, being counted and feeling counted, having a vote and having a voice and the languor of count taking and the animation of account giving, there emerges a unique insight into how it feels to be a democratic citizen. Based on a series of interviews with a variety of voters and non-voters, the research attempts to understand what people think they are doing when they vote; how they feel before, during and after the act of voting; how performances of voting are framed by memories, narratives and dreams; and what it means to think of oneself as a person who does (or does not) vote. Rich in theory, this is a contribution to election studies that takes culture seriously.
Stephen Coleman is Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Centre for Digital Citizenship at the Institute of Communications Studies at the University of Leeds. He is also Honorary Professor in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen and Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford. Coleman's most recent publications include Connecting Democracy: Online Consultation and the Flow of Political Communication (with Peter M. Shane, 2011), The Media and the Public: 'Them' and 'Us' in Media Discourse (with Karen Ross, 2009) and The Internet and Democratic Citizenship: Theory, Practice and Policy (with Jay G. Blumler, 2009) - winner of the American Political Science Association award for best book of the year on politics and information technology. He has served as specialist adviser to the House of Commons Information Select Committee inquiry on ICT and public participation in Parliament, as a member of the Puttnam Commission on parliamentary communication with the public and as chair of the Electoral Reform Society's Independent Commission on Alternative Voting Methods.
1. What voting means; 2. Narratives of voting; 3. Memories of the ballot box; 4. Acquiring the habit; 5. The burden of being represented; 6. Spaces of disappearance; 7. Becoming us; 8. Who feels what, when, and how.