Playing at Politics


This book throws open the portals of the Oxford Union as it follows the excitement, anxiety and manoeuvring of a campaign for the post of President. The author, an academic anthropologist, trailed a candidate for the post of President when making a film for Japanese television. She followed him from the nomination process to election night and beyond. This has provided the basis for an ethnographic study of this most establishment institution – a study that throws new light on the workings of British politics. Using the Oxford Union as a guide the focus of the study is on the British political ideology. What kind of person succeeds in British politics? What do they need to do to win elections? The study of the Union is fascinating in its own right as ethnography of the sort of institution that has barely been studied by anthropologists.