Democracy as Fetish
2011 Watson Lecture: Ralph Cintron
The title of this paper comes from a larger book project that treats ten years of ethnographic fieldwork in Latino/a Chicago and more than a year's fieldwork in Eastern Europe primarily in Kosovo. I have done fieldwork in aldermanic offices, government ministries, and among groups representing radical right and radical left positions. My concern throughout is the imaginary of democracy, its flexibility/instability as a term. At the core of my talk are what I call the democratic rhetorics (freedom, equality, transparency, rights, and so on) and how these function as now globalized "god terms" for many conservatives, liberals, and progressives. I am interested in the "eros of spectacle" and its shaping of political decision-making.