Against the norm: The transitional symbiosis of 'grassroots clientelism' and 'rural citizenship'

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Clientelism has predominantly been represented in the literature as an expression of backwardness and corruption with little attention being paid to the question of how clientelism has changed over the years. In contrast, this paper examines the particulars of state intervention in the agrarian economy with respect to clientelism and exposes the illogicality of contrasting patron-client relationships with citizenship. The historical focus is on the ways in which, in the course of post-dictatorship consolidation in rural Greece throughout the 1980s, the transformation of traditional brokerage-based clientelism into the bureaucratic clientelism of the political parties actually enhanced the institutions and practices of ‘rural citizenship’. Comparative qualitative research on the driving force of agrarian change shows how Thessalian villagers made the transition from being socially excluded subjects to socially included clients in two lowland village communities and the role played by a dynamic state bureaucracy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-370
Number of pages23
JournalThe Sociological Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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