From the mouth of God

Divine kinship and popular democratic politics

in Focaal
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  • 1 London School of Economics a.i.forbess@googlemail.com
  • 2 University College London l.michelutti@ucl.ac.uk
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This article proposes “divine kinship” as an analytical tool with which to explore the relation between the divine, “the people”, and their political leaders and advance an ethnographically led comparative anthropology of democracy. More specifically, using the political ethnographies of five localities—North India, Venezuela, Montenegro, Russia, and Nepal—we discuss lived understandings of popular sovereignty, electoral representation, and political hope. We argue that charismatic kinship is crucial to understanding the processes by which political leaders and elected representatives become the embodiment of “the people”, and highlight the processes through which “ordinary people” are transformed into “extraordinary people” with royal/divine/democratic qualities.

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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