Political Clientelism | Patron-Clientelism | Relationship significance


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 the distribution of selective benefit (money, job, information, a variety of privileges to the individual or clearly defined groups in exchange of political support”.

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    Features of Political clientelism:

    • Political clientelism involves Patron – client relationship. Before discussing the Patron – client relationship, we must know the meaning of ‘Patron’ and ‘client. A patron is an individual, who possesses and has 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 the 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 goods and services, portrayed by a feeling of commitment and by an unequal balance of power between those involved

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