Election and Exceptions – The Danish Fine Count

Anne Kathrine Pihl Vadgård

Publikation: Konferencebidrag - EJ publiceret i proceeding eller tidsskriftKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskning


In this paper I explore the role of the Danish election law in the conduct of elections. Based on 9 months of ethnographic fieldwork in an election office in a Danish municipality, I focus on the conflicting relation between the legal framework and deviating election practices. I argue that handling of such election practices requires thoughtful and vigorous bureaucratic work. Thus the election law may be said to act as a navigational tool throughout the complex bureaucratic practices of planning an election. Yet exceptions to the law inevitably occur on Election Day, requiring bending, twisting, and tinkering of electoral practices to create an orderly election.
The argument draws on science and technology studies and on Weber’s studies of bureaucracy to establish sensitivity towards socio-­‐material bureaucratic processes and negotiations of the election law. According to Weber the process of bureaucratization is concerned with eliminating emotional elements and the ordering of the public administration as a calculative machinery that enable distance, rationality, objectivity, and authority. However bureaucratic practices in the administration of the election do not always correspond with Weber’s ideas of bureaucratic rationality. Instead, proper bureaucratic management of disruptive election practices is characterized by enthusiasm, attentiveness, and overview of the overall election goals.
StatusUdgivet - 2014
BegivenhedThe Anthropology Megaseminar 2014: Law - Sandbjerg, Danmark
Varighed: 13 jan. 201415 jan. 2014


KonferenceThe Anthropology Megaseminar 2014


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