it’s big there.
what the h*ck is clientelism, you ask? from wiki-p:
“Clientelism is a term used to describe a political system at the heart of which is an assyemtric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons and clients…. Those with access, the patrons (and/or sometimes sub-patrons or brokers) rely on the subordination and dependence of the clients. In return for receiving some benefits the clients should provide political support.”
in other words, normal chicago politics. (~_^)
i just got through reading a very interesting, but very amusing, article entitled: “Why Is There No Clientelism in Scandinavia? A Comparison of the Swedish and Greek Sequences of Development.” it was only amusing ’cause i could just picture all the sociologists throwing their hands up in the air trying to imagine why it could possibly be that there’s clientelism in one country and not in another. (~_^)
anyway. here are some interesting quotes from that article. basically, there’s clientelism in greece because (along with their average iq and typical behavioral traits) greeks are, as we’ve seen, pretty endogamous in their mating practices, marrying very locally, often preferentially third-cousins, and that has selected for strong inclusive fitness-related behaviors in greek society. i haven’t, yet, looked at mating patterns in sweden. maybe that will be tomorrow evening’s project. ok, here we go:
“The Swedish language does not have an appropriate word for clientelism, and when journalists refer to clientelism in other countries, they usually have to add that this is a practice where politicians exchange favors for political support. Yet, on the whole, the practice of clientelism is relatively unknown in Sweden.
“Evidence from scientific research suggests that the Swedish bureaucracy works in a relatively universalistic manner.”
“A detailed Greek historiographic study of work mobility of the urban poor reports, for instance, that about 80 percent of the time, people found jobs thanks to kinship networks and not to political intermediation (Pizanias 1993).”
“In the Greek welfare administration, and in the public administration more generally, one does not find such a mixture; it is either remoteness or proximity. Access to familiarity inside the bureaucracy is possible only through personal, often family, networks; otherwise, Greeks face bureaucratic indifference to a degree unknown in Scandinavia. In other words, both friendliness and preferential treatment are assigned on a selective basis. This organizational culture results from the intertwining of kinship, or extended families, and bureaucracy.“
“As Nikiforos Diamandouros (1984: 59) pointed out, in Greece the family has been the major social actor, which operated on multiple levels and fulfilled many economic, social, military, and political functions. When liberation weakened the position of the noblemen, with many of them losing large parts of their fortune during the war, they turned inward toward the family, the main ‘capital’ at their disposal at that time. With politics as an imperative for survival and kinship as the only existing organization device, extensive family coalitions were built using the quite widespread institutions of adoption, marriage, fraternization, and god-fatherhood (Petropulos 1985: 69-73).
“Initially these family coalitions were horizontal…. At the interstices between state and local communities, the system of family coalitions found fertile ground in which to develop vertically, creating hierarchies of families with quite unequal power resources, but also relations of mutual dependence. Families at the top of the hierarchy drew their power through their intertwining with the state and access to its goods, and those at the bottom through their capacity to aggregate and deliver the votes of their members. Just like the families at the bottom were dependent upon the families at the top for access to state goods, the families at the top could not secure their position without the political support of those at the bottom.”
this dependency between the top and the bottom — that’s clientelism. and it’s all (or mostly) family-based in greece.
“As well as the families, villages [which, as we’ve seen, are really just very extended families] became units for interest aggregation in Greece. Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms, as they were in Sweden [long story]; rather, they were strengthened. At the same time, class division within the peasantry were weakened by the distribution of the cultivated land to all peasants, thereby creating a relatively homogenous village population with strong local identities…. Hence, in many parts of Greece, citizenship became relational and derivative, materializing through family networks and political parties and not as the effect of the direct integration of the people into the state….”
“While in Sweden the realms of state, politics, and social life became differentiated with relatively clear-cut organization boundaries, in Greece these realms became partly overlapping and even intertwined with strong social ties. These same ties prevented the atomization of the individuals and the full development of categorical interests. They constituted the social ground for clientelism….“
no atomization of individuals in greece because there is (and has been for some time) too much endogamous mating there and, therefore, individuals are strongly tied to their extended families rather than being rugged individuals. clientelism is simply the obvious way to go for the greeks.
update 10/07: regarding this quoted above: “Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms….” the agricultural or land reforms referred to happened when greece gained independence from the ottoman empire in 1835. land that had been a part of turkish-owned estates was redistributed to greek peasants. however, it was done in such a way that the peasants did not have to leave their natal villages (the story was very different in other part of europe, like sweden, where peasants were actually shifted around on the land). for the purposes of this blog, this means that the endogamous mating patterns of the greeks — marrying locally within the village or neighboring village — could go waaaaay back.
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