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Good gifts, bad gifts, and rights : Cambodian popular perceptions and the 2013 elections

Norén-Nilsson, Astrid (2016) In Pacific Affairs 89(4). p.795-815
Abstract

In the Cambodian national elections in 2013, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) experienced a strong surge in support, finishing a close second to the long-incumbent Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Whilst the CNRP campaigned on an anti-money politics, rights-based agenda, the CPP has relied on gift-giving practices to maintain links with voters. This article explores changing popular conceptions of provision to assess to what extent a democratic, rights-based conscience in Cambodia has emerged under the current neo-patrimonial regime. Building on qualitative interviews with 192 voters in post-election Cambodia, it finds that gift-giving practices play a different role than current academic theorizations of popular... (More)

In the Cambodian national elections in 2013, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) experienced a strong surge in support, finishing a close second to the long-incumbent Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Whilst the CNRP campaigned on an anti-money politics, rights-based agenda, the CPP has relied on gift-giving practices to maintain links with voters. This article explores changing popular conceptions of provision to assess to what extent a democratic, rights-based conscience in Cambodia has emerged under the current neo-patrimonial regime. Building on qualitative interviews with 192 voters in post-election Cambodia, it finds that gift-giving practices play a different role than current academic theorizations of popular politics, and Cambodian popular politics in particular, would lead us to expect. Ordinary Cambodians are found to make a distinction between contingent and non-contingent exchanges in electoral mobilization, rejecting the former and embracing the latter. CPP gift giving in its current guise is consequently devoid of popular legitimacy across the political camps. At the same time, the idea of meritorious gift giving lives on as an ideal, especially among CNRP supporters.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Cambodia, Citizenship, Clientelism, Neo-patrimonialism, Patronage politics, Rights, Vote buying
in
Pacific Affairs
volume
89
issue
4
pages
21 pages
publisher
Pacific Affairs
external identifiers
  • scopus:84998772440
ISSN
0030-851X
DOI
10.5509/2016894795
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
aa08ca41-1d57-40c1-bb1f-0271d1b3221c
date added to LUP
2016-12-16 13:03:12
date last changed
2017-02-24 09:44:40
@article{aa08ca41-1d57-40c1-bb1f-0271d1b3221c,
  abstract     = {<p>In the Cambodian national elections in 2013, the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) experienced a strong surge in support, finishing a close second to the long-incumbent Cambodian People’s Party (CPP). Whilst the CNRP campaigned on an anti-money politics, rights-based agenda, the CPP has relied on gift-giving practices to maintain links with voters. This article explores changing popular conceptions of provision to assess to what extent a democratic, rights-based conscience in Cambodia has emerged under the current neo-patrimonial regime. Building on qualitative interviews with 192 voters in post-election Cambodia, it finds that gift-giving practices play a different role than current academic theorizations of popular politics, and Cambodian popular politics in particular, would lead us to expect. Ordinary Cambodians are found to make a distinction between contingent and non-contingent exchanges in electoral mobilization, rejecting the former and embracing the latter. CPP gift giving in its current guise is consequently devoid of popular legitimacy across the political camps. At the same time, the idea of meritorious gift giving lives on as an ideal, especially among CNRP supporters.</p>},
  author       = {Norén-Nilsson, Astrid},
  issn         = {0030-851X},
  keyword      = {Cambodia,Citizenship,Clientelism,Neo-patrimonialism,Patronage politics,Rights,Vote buying},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {795--815},
  publisher    = {Pacific Affairs},
  series       = {Pacific Affairs},
  title        = {Good gifts, bad gifts, and rights : Cambodian popular perceptions and the 2013 elections},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5509/2016894795},
  volume       = {89},
  year         = {2016},
}