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Title: Caste, social cleavages, place and leaders in Indian elections : 1962-2004
Author: Sarawgi, Shreya
ISNI:       0000 0003 8492 0594
Awarding Body: Oxford University
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Focussing on India, this thesis examines whether long-term 'social structural' determinants of vote choice are in decline whereas 'contextual' and short-term 'leadership' effects associated with individual rationality are on the rise. It also asks whether these processes are associated with the changing party system and the nature of social cleavages in India. I show that there is a declining but significant effect of caste and other social cleavages in India, and that there is substantial cross-regional variation in voting behaviour. I also show that, against expectations, leadership effects and particularly leadership evaluations are significant determinants of vote choice. This suggests that rather than modernising forces affecting developing countries in the same way, country specific economic, social and political context has a role to play for explaining over time patterns in voting behaviour. Moreover, social cleavages and leadership effects on vote choice do not conform to the standard expectations. The social cleavages in India have not produced a static party system, which has instead been evolving in the last 60 years since independence. Social cleavages have remained significant, responding to the changing party system. This runs contrary to the arguments that modernization results in a decline in identity voting. Also, region has gained increased importance in recent years in India and the axis of political competition has devolved to the level of the state. Finally, a short-term factor-leadership effects- associated with a decline in social cleavage voting is also significant for voting behaviour. The analyses indicate that Indian politics over the past fifty years. can be best understood using all three of the sociological, contextual and the individual rationality frameworks. Some of the predictors of electoral choice- social cleavages, region and leaders- are the key elements of these frameworks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available