’Tis but a Habit in an Unconsolidated Democracy

Habitual Voting, Political Alienation and Spectatorship

in Theoria
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  • 1 Shanghai Jiao Tong University borjaala@gmail.com
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Abstract

The electoral process can be considered as one basic component of a democracy and for this reason one way to evaluate the progress of a democratisation project is by looking at the development of this civic practice in terms of both quantity (voter turnout) and quality (voters’ preferences). Focusing on the former, specifically the impact of political alienation on electoral participation as voter turnout this article will look at the challenges to democratisation posed by electoral politics. From the case of electoral participation in the Philippines, I ask the question: What is the relationship between political alienation and voter turnout in the context of the latter enjoying relatively high and sustained rates? Through a synthesis between the notions of political spectatorship, habitual voting and the learning approach towards analysing voter behaviour, I argue that electoral participation is a disempowered mode of participation resulting from the interdependence of sustained spectatorship and habitual voting.

Contributor Notes

Anthony Lawrence A. Borja obtained his BA and MA from De La Salle University, where he also served as a lecturer in the Political Science Department from 2010–2016. He is currently taking his doctoral studies in the School of International and Public Affairs in Shanghai Jiao Tong University. His research interests and fields of publication are in comparative politics and Marxian political philosophy.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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