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An Ethnographic Exploration of Clientelistic Politics in India

By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Studies on elections and voting behavior in India usually focus on statistics and survey research to understand the results and trends in politics. In this research case study, I use ethnography as a method to explore and analyze clientelistic politics in the context of elections. Through comparative ethnographic approach, I try to explore the changing forms of clientelistic politics in India. Through extensive fieldwork in two regions, I try to compare the similarities and differences in the evolution of clientelistic politics in India. I use various research tools like interviews, open-ended discussions, participant observations, shadowing candidates, and local-level leaders to explore the complex narrative of clientelistic vote mobilization lurking in the informal stretches of election campaigns. Through this research methods case, I explain and justify the need for using comparative ethnography as a method best suited for systematically studying clientelistic politics in India.

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