In this episode of the Being Human Show, hosted by Dr Jennifer Cearns, anthropologists Professor Emma Crewe (SOAS), Bryony Rudkin (University of Birmingham), and Dr Igor Cherstich (University College London) discuss what democracy is, and how it is constructed and experienced within different cultural contexts across the world. What can anthropology add to our understanding of these political forms and practices, and how might an anthropological approach depart from the more political, economic or even philosophical conversations we might hear more typically through digital and print media?
Emma Crewe is an anthropologist interested in the relationship between politicians and people in society. She is Director of the Global Research Network on Parliaments and People, giving grants to scholars and artists in Myanmar and Ethiopia to study parliaments. She is also Chair of the RAI’s Committee on the Anthropology of Policy and Practice. Bryony Rudkin is studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham looking at how local politicians behave in meetings. She has been a local councillor herself for the past 23 years in the town of Ipswich where she lives. Igor Cherstich is an anthropologist who has done extensive research in Libya. Igor has recently joined the Thomas Coram Research Unit at the UCL Social Research Institute, and he has worked on tribalism, revolutionary politics and the relationship between people and the state in Libya.