Voting as a unique social experience: An excerpt from The Great March of Democracy

The Great March of Democracy
Seven Decades of India’s Elections
Book Excerpt 

In this rich tapestry of election studies, what remains relatively less understood is the voter herself. Research questions of election studies are driven by a processual view of elections that aims to analyse or predict electoral results and scrutinise political actors, such as politicians and middlemen, through their social background or political alliances. The voter becomes salient to explain how they vote, which political party they are likely to support and what determines these choices. These studies have made our comprehension of elections detailed, of course, but our understanding of the voter is mainly on the basis of how they vote rather than why they vote at all. This is a question worth pursuing mainly to explain rising turnout but also because political parties repeatedly fail to deliver on their campaign promises and social inequality continues to grow. Thus, it could be expected that in India, like in other older . . .