Afghan Elections in Katmandu

For those of you who are in Nepal, looking to go to a talk this afternoon….

Social Science Baha invites you to its

Lecture Series LXXVIII

Noah Coburn on When are Elections Bad for Democracy?

Internationally Sponsored Elections in Post-Invasion Afghanistan 

5.30 pm • 25 June, 2014 (Wednesday) • Yalamaya Kendra, Patan Dhoka, Lalitpur

 For those that link elections closely with democratisation, the five rounds of polling since the 2001 US-led invasion in Afghanistan present a challenging case. When viewed ethnographically from the local level, it is striking the ways in which elections have actually encouraged violence, allowed the ruling elite to consolidate power and restricted access to resources for the average voter. In many cases, this was a result of

leaders taking these mechanisms and adapting them to local cultural and social norms. Internationals, encouraging a top-down approach, were often confounded by these bottom-up manipulations. This lecture is part of study based on field research during the 2009, 2010 and 2014 elections in a series of communities across the country as well as close tracking of several candidates, voters and political issues over the past five years.

The case of elections in Afghanistan raises wider questions about holding elections during transitional periods when much of the country is still unstable. It also looks at the consequences of importing governance approaches without sensitivity to the cultural and political uniqueness of each place, asking whether ‘best practices’ are necessarily best for local communities.

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