Full Explanation of Political Clientelism and Patron – Client Relationship

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Full Explanation of Political Clientelism and Patron – Client Relationship

Political Clientelism is a very broad phenomenon. During the 1960s/70s Political Clientelism and patronage emerge as a major analytical concept in the studies on  political and social change.
Political Clientelism holds a firm position in party politics.

Meaning of political clientelism:


Political clientelism can be defined as a strategic process, in which political parties and government transfer material goods and services to the poor and marginal groups of the society as a means of securing their electoral support and consolidate political power.


Definition of political clientelism

According to Wilkinson and Hopkins, "Political Clientelism refers to distribution of selective benefit (money, job, information, a variety of privileges to individual or clearly defined groups in exchange of political support".

Features of Political clientelism:


  • Political clientelism involves Patron – client relationship. Before discussing about Patron – client relationship, we must know the meaning of 'Patron' and 'client. A patron is an individual, who possess and have access to different  resources such as land, fiscal and authority. On the other hand a client is a person who requires the consent or permission or goodwill of the patron to access benefit. As such,  Patron – client relationship can be regarded as a type of friendship, between the patron and the client in which the patron provides the client with access to basic means of subsistence in return for a combination of economic good and services and social act of respect and loyalty from the client”.
  • Political clientelism is a form of personal, dyadic exchange of good and services, portrayed by a feeling of commitment and by an unequal balance of power between those involved.
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