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For over twenty years, Cultural Anthropology has published a wide range of essays in which its authors approach the practices of voting, elections, and democratic institutions in innovative ways. For example, a cultural politics of the ‘voice’ - arguably the cornerstone of democratic practice - has been critically examined by Hervé Varenne (1987) in “Talk and Real Talk,” and more recently by Laura Kunreuther (2007) in “Technologies of the Voice.” Essays have also considered alternative modes of democratization as with the vigilantism richly analyzed by Daniel Jordan Smith in “The Bakassi Boys” (2004). Additionally, a number of authors have looked at the instructive relationship between dance and democracy; see “Democratizing Dance” by Deborah A. Thomas (2004), “Multipartyism and Nostalgia for the Unified Past” by Clare A. Ignatowski (2002) and “Politics without a Head” by John Borneman and Stefan Senders (2000). Other key topics addressed in this rich corpus include the uses and effects of quantitative technologies, racial ideologies and their implications for political representation, and the intersection of public politics and private consumption.
-Rodney Collins, February 2008