Sallie Han, (Anthropology, SUNY Oneonta) and Jason Antrosio (Anthropology, Hartwick College) are the co-editors of the October 2016 issue of Open Anthropology on the theme of “Anthropology in an Election Year.”
To the list of reasons why the 2016 presidential contest in the United States has been especially notable and newsworthy, we might add the number of superlatives surrounding it. Headlines refer to the election as both “the most important of our lives” and the “worst election, ever.” Yet, the discontent, frustration, anger, and worry—and also the hope, optimism, and resolve—on display in the 2016 election are not unique to it or to the electoral politics of the U.S. Indeed, in all of the places where anthropologists pursue their studies, they have been bearing witness to citizens and voters expressing their concerns and criticisms about the qualities of their elected leaders, the legitimacy of the processes that bring parties into power, the responsibilities and rights of the electorate itself in addition to broader and deeper questions about the nature of democracy—or of democracies.
Featured in this collection are 16 articles that speak to some of the themes and tropes which have emerged not only during the latest presidential contest in the U.S., but also in the work of political anthropologists documenting and detailing elections and campaigns in settings including eastern Europe, east Africa, and south Asia. While a concentration of the pieces included here is based on observation and analysis in the U.S., the accounts from other contexts provide much needed perspective and insight.
The articles will remain open access for six months. Access the issue here: http://www.americananthro.org/StayInformed/OAIssueTOC.aspx?ItemNumber=20799