Clientelism in Everyday Latin American Politics by T. Hilgers

By T. Hilgers

This booklet improves understandings of ways and why clientelism endures in Latin the United States and why country coverage is usually useless. Political scientists and sociologists, the members hire ethnography, distinctive interviews, case reports, within-case and nearby comparability, thick descriptions, and procedure tracing.

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Pa r t 2 T h eor e t ic a l P e r spec t i v es 2 F avor s , “M e r i t R i bbons ,” a n d S e rv ic es A na ly z i ng t h e F r agi l e R esi l i e nc e of C l i e n t e l ism Luis Roniger I n this chapter, I want to discuss some aspects of the rather paradoxical combination of resilience and systemic fragility of clientelism in Latin America. Time and again analysts have foreseen the decline of this phenomenon, viewed as a bête noire, only to see it reborn as a phoenix, albeit fragile, from the ashes of political change and shifts in economic and social policies.

Economic inequality poses substantial implications for political process, but also for the goals of politics, as the title question asks. Economic inequality influences political process by helping determine who gets involved and how; in poor households, adults may seek more economic security long before they prioritize political action. When political action is pursued, poor households may participate in short-term actions such as protest or rallies rather than extended engagement in partisan activity.

The pressure on leaders to become “entangled” in the state-sanctioned sectors is great; the personal rewards are substantial; and the space for maintaining autonomy is small (Vèlez-Ibañez 1983). Thus the state controls the locale, the commodity of political exchange, and the speed with which it responds to demands through clientelism, while limiting the formation of coalitions, common expressions of solidarity, and an ethos of rights. The power of the patron to channel and diminish demands allows it to prioritize system maintenance over community needs.

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