Political Participation in Mauritius: Polls, parties, and everyday practices
Political participation is about a wide range of how people can get involved in influencing, shaping, rejecting or utilizing public affairs. It goes far beyond voting in elections. Political participation includes forms of resistance against specific public policies, social media campaigns that pressure for political change, the animation of associations that fight for ideas about how the society should look like, involvement in party politics or as an elected representative, and many more ways of individuals and groups interacting with the state and the general public. From a political science perspective, processes of electoral competition, including the organized voicing of interests and ideas, representation in elected assemblies, and citizens’ voting and turnout behaviour are core elements of democratic participation. Social anthropology, on the other hand, sets a bigger focus on everyday practices of political participation inside and outside of formal structures, paying attention to concrete acts of citizenship, the formation and mobilisation of identity politics or the negotiation and contestation of bureaucratic procedures. The field research training will therefore include two tracks from which you can select in accordance with your study programme. You will be prepared in thematic, theoretical and methodical courses before leaving to the field.
Parliament Building, Port Louis, Republic of Mauritius (by Karsten Ratzke, CC0 1.0)
Participants of either track are invited to join six weeks of organized field research in cooperation with the University of Mauritius. Processes of political participation heat up before elections, campaigning mobilizes political parties, candidates seek the best strategy to get elected, the media closely follows the events and the people’s interest in politics surges. Thus, the national elections that will take place in the Republic of Mauritius in late 2019 will provide an excellent opportunity to study political participation, electoral competition, and democratic development in an African country.
Eventually, you will pick your individual topic, address specifics of the case and/or identify commonalities with the rest of Africa and beyond. Individually organized research at different destinations will be possible. Two-thirds of the fieldwork will be funded by the University of Bayreuth. Find the two-track course scheme below. You will find more information on the preparation seminars in the usual semester schedules. Participants from the Master's programme in African Culture and Society will be free to opt for one track. MA students of Cultural and Social Anthropology shall join the anthropological track, interested MA students of Development Studies the political science track.
You may contact Prof. Dr. Alexander Stroh (political science) or Prof. Dr. Katharina Schramm (anthropology) for further advice. The deadline for applications for the Master's programmes in Cultural and Social Anthropology as well as African Culture and Society is 15 July. Concerning the Master's programme in Development Studies, graduates from a non-German university are required to apply until 1 July.
Two-Track Training Scheme
Banner Foto: Clément Larher (CC BY-SA 3.0)