Ethnographic Study of Voting Behaviour of Youth (Part-3)
Voting is the expression of the people about a political system to recognize its utilization in the society. This is a kind of human activity with sound and rich political grounds. According to the directions of the preferences of the voter the vote banks get influence. This shows the liking and disliking of the candidates or a group of candidates. It also inform about the importance and worthiness of any political system. As Blais (2004) said in such a way:
Voting is the expression of a person’s preference for a candidate, or a group of candidates, as well as the person’s preference of one political system rather than another.
(Blais, 2004, p.221)
The people of Pakistan do not have much experience in elections. The first 23 years of Pakistan were without elections while from 1970 to 2013 nation has experienced 5 regimes of dictatorship. Frequent military interventions hindered the development of a country.
The political system of Pakistan is under the process of change and causing many novel stages. The main thing which is stimulating the political system is the voting behaviour of the voters. It is not only affecting the political system but social life of the public.
The election system has been changing since independence. Hence the political system of Pakistan is still in its experimental stage. Voting behaviour is a central part of politics of any political system. Politics is an activity related to political system. It is not only a part of political life but social life too….
(Hashmi, 1987, p.46)
Studies allied with voting behaviour report that voters can be classified into seven most important types by their inspiration to vote: Party Loyal, Morality Seeking Voters, Supporter Seeking Voters, Legislation Minded Voters, Advance Seeking Voters, Biradari Bound, and disbeliever Voters.
The voter decides about the candidates to vote according to the information provided to him/her. Voters make decisions on the basis of their political knowledge and sources of information about the different political parties. They judge the most suitable candidate for the betterment of the country. Hence it is important to note the sources of communication about the political knowledge to understand the phenomena.
Voting decisions are the most important decisions that public make, they decide who will rule the country and how the resources and capital are allocates. Voters do not know all of the issues. They only relay on informational cues.
(Cohen, 2003, p.808)
Education also plays its role in the decision making activity of human beings. The demographic data highlight such facts about the voter. Gender and race are also important to understand the political orientations of the youth.“Demographic factors do affect the voting decisions like gender, race is more important than socioeconomic factors like education”(Leighley & Nagler, 1992, p.720).
The study of ethnicity is also significant to understand the voting behaviour according the anthropological tools of the research to find out the ultimate truth about the natural phenomena guided by the theory and hypothesis and its links about the topic. The process of categorization among the human beings is causing the establishment of political system.
The term ethnic group is generally understood in anthropological literature to designate a population which: is largely biologically self-perpetuating, shares fundamental cultural values, realized in overt unity in cultural forms, makes up a field of communication and interaction, has a membership which identifies itself, and is identified by others, as constituting a category distinguishable from other categories of the same order.
(Barth, 1998, p.11)
Branton stated about ethnicity and its influence of voting behaviour in such a way: “In the last few years ethnic and racial influence on voting decisions was studied more than other issues. Race and ethnicity had great influence on voting behaviour” (Branton, 2004, p.679).
One of the important variables, the class is the major element in the change of voting behaviour of the people. People think according to their social relations and benefits from the established relations in the society. Where there is more return there will be the high rate of influence. The concept of class started with the emergence of colonization and capitalism.
Social class plays a significant importance in voting behaviour. However, other factors are showing an ever increasing importance today such as, social class, party policies, and ethnicity and region issues.
(Lednum, 2006, p.2)
Sharing of common political views among the individual of a particular group leads to influence the voting behaviour of the people. Common ancestor and kinship ties are also the source of showing a unique and differentiating behaviour to form a united political organization. People consider and value their ethnic and hereditary characteristics in the decision making of casting votes. It is important to note the influence of such variable to write an account of the voting behaviour of youth in complete and accurate form.
Voting for a candidate of one’s own race might be a product of racism, or it may be the result of reliance on a simple, readily available cue. In other words, voters may support a candidate of their own race or ethnicity based on the assumption that a candidate who shares their racial or ethnic background also shares their basic political views.
(Michelson, 2005, p.3)
Racism is important in the anthropological perspective to understand and find out the truth about the topic of voting behaviour for better examination. As Erikson (2002) said about the importance of the racism in such a way:
Racism , obviously, builds on the assumption that personality is somehow linked with hereditary characteristics which differ systematically between ‘races’, and in this way race may assume sociological importance even if it has no ‘objective’ existence.
(Erikson, 2002, p.6)
- Barth, F. (1998). Ethnic Groups and Boundaries:the social organization of culture differences. Waveland Press.
- Blais, A.G. (2004). Where does turnout decline come from? European Journal of Political Research, 43, pp. 221-223.
- Cohen, G. (2003). Party over Policy: The Dominating Impact of Group Influence on Political Beliefs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 808-822.
- Erikson,T. H. (2002). Ethnicity and Nationalism Anthropological Perspectives. London: PlutoPress.
- Hashmi, S.H. (1987). The Governing Process in Pakistan (1958-69). Lahore: Aziz Publishers.
- Lednum, G. (2006). Assess the Importance of Social Class to Voting Behaviour in the UK. 1-2. Sage Publishers.
- Leighley., & Nagler. (1992). Individual and Systemic Influences on Turnout: Who Votes? 1984. The Journal of Politics, 54(3), pp. 718-740.
- Michelson, M. R. (2005). Does Ethnicity Trump Party? Competing Vote Cues and Latino Voting Behaviour. Journal of Political Marketing, 4(4), 1-25.