What is it about?

Anonymity is an important feature of democracy. It is most prominently used in the secret ballot, but also in campaign funding, political pamphlets and manifestos, graffiti, masking in demonstrations, and in political discussions on the internet. So what advantages does anonymity have for democracy? How does anonymity harm democracy? And, most importantly, what is anonymity really? This article explores anonymity in various forms of political participation and shows how it both enhances and harms democracy.

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Why is it important?

This article is important because anonymity has so far not been discussed in democratic theory although it plays such a crucial role in democracy. The article goes beyond common understandings of anonymity as simple "namelessness" and explains anonymity as identity performance: Anonymity does not only mean hiding; it also means revealing and expressing!

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This page is a summary of: Anonymity and Democracy: Absence as Presence in the Public Sphere, American Political Science Review, April 2018, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/s0003055418000163.
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