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How Voters Feel, Stephen Coleman

Reviewed by George E. Marcus

Stephen Coleman offers a thoughtful examination of the subjective narra­tives offered by the people he speaks with as they ponder the act and meaning of voting. The interviews reveal the complexities that people en­counter when they confront moving into the civic realm of politics. Coleman is adept at the art of listening and gently probing as he explores how the people who live in and around a northern British city understand them­selves. These extensive interviews reveal much about the subjective meaning of the experience of voting. His perceptive observations as he talks politics with his chosen array of people in Britain reveal the many ways in which the act of voting is, as he puts it, simultaneously the expression of ideals, the manifestation of ritual and of routine, and, finally of pathology. He is especially deft at noting the various ways in which hierarchy permeates and animates sensibilities that often provide disincentives to securing the egalitarian confidence and security necessary for democratic contestation. His interviewees include many found in a diverse population: people young and old, male, female, privileged and liminal, experienced and novice in the realm of politics, well‐off and poor, among many other differences. How Voters Feel is a worthy and valuable addition to the literature on voting and on democrat

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