Vote Buying: Situating Agency in the Politics of Negotiating Identity

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Chaipong Samnieng

Abstract

Profound changes in Thai socio-economy have brought about a “rural middle class” who are politically enthusiastic. These people have become increasingly interested in political participation through elections because of its significance to direct public policies which affect their lives. As a consequence, those middle classes have entered the political sphere as enthusiastic political agencies, particularly in local politics which offers newcomers unlimited access under diverse relationships. Local elections have become an apparatus deployed by the people to generate a space where they can rearrange their relationship with the state. Simultaneously, elections have provided an opportunity for newcomers to constantly access the political space.


Nevertheless, the image of rural areas is still represented by the myth of vote buying. In that myth, the votes are assimilated with the goods available in the market and the voters are regarded as only docile agents. In fact, elections and vote buying are too perplexing to be simply understood as an exchange under the market system. Unfortunately, mainstream political studies usually concentrate on structural and institutional politics without considering the political dynamics of political agencies. This results in those studies lacking multidimensional consideration. In addition, such indifference leads to the myth and the binary trap, which cannot comprehensively explain the political phenomenon. In consequence, taking account of the daily practice of individuals in order to negotiate against the definition, emotions and political consciousness could pave a way to understand the relationship of power in depth.

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How to Cite
Samnieng, C. (2018). Vote Buying: Situating Agency in the Politics of Negotiating Identity. Political Science and Public Administration Journal, 9(2), 1-48. Retrieved from https://www.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/polscicmujournal/article/view/114549
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Research Article

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