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Clientelism and conceptual stretching: differentiating among concepts and among analytical levels

Title:

Clientelism and conceptual stretching: differentiating among concepts and among analytical levels

Hilgers, Tina (2011) Clientelism and conceptual stretching: differentiating among concepts and among analytical levels. Theory and Society, 40 (5). pp. 567-588. ISSN 0304-2421

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11186-011-9152-6

Abstract

The concept of clientelism has lost descriptive power. It has become indistinguishable from neighboring concepts and is applied across analytical levels. Using Gerring’s (1999) characterization of a “good” concept, I establish the core attributes of clientelism, which, in addition to being an interest-maximizing exchange, involves longevity, diffuseness, face-to-face contact, and inequality. Using secondary sources and fieldwork data, I differentiate clientelism from concepts such as vote-buying and corruption and determine its analytical position at the microsociological level. I argue that labeling sociopolitical systems as clientelistic is awkward since, operating at a higher analytical level, they have characteristics beyond microsociological clientelism and they affect the political nature of the clientelism they contain. I conclude that differentiating clientelism by confining it to the microsociological level will aid theory-building.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Political Science
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Hilgers, Tina
Journal or Publication:Theory and Society
Date:2011
Funders:
  • SSHRC
  • FQRSC
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1007/s11186-011-9152-6
Keywords:clientelism, conceptual stretching, vote-buying, neo-patrimonialism
ID Code:980958
Deposited By: BETTINA HILGERS
Deposited On:06 Apr 2016 18:16
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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