Upper Left Quadrant Details Upper Right Quadrant Details Lower Left Quadrant Details Lower Right Quadrant Details Details



“Clientelism” is a spurious concept, crossing different disciplines. Already used by the classical sociologists and political scientists, it has been applied in systematic way by the social anthropologists since the 1920s. During the 1970s, the concept of clientelism was brought back into political science in order to explain the persistence of personal relationships in modern political systems.
The matrix represents the multidimensionality of the concept. The vertical axis refers to the type of clientelist association: from the traditional interpersonal exchange among subjects of different social status to the exchange among corporate groups, the so-called “horizontal clientelism”. The horizontal axis concerns the dynamics of clientelism, contrasting a relationship based on consensus and deference typical of the normative traditional systems with the contractual logic of social exchange. Both axes reproduce the tension between backwardness and modernity. It is therefore possible to outline a developmental path beginning from the lower left quadrant and proceeding clockwise.
The LLQ quadrant represents traditional communities, the kingdom of the notables. The patronage relationship is direct and vertical, based on clear normative rules related to the hierarchy of status. The ULQ quadrant refers to the diffusion of political machines in modern democratic systems, especially during the phases of economic and industrial development. The central institution is the party, which develops functions of socialization (as outlined by Merton) and integration in complex and heterogeneous societies. The URQ quadrant is typical of contemporary politics. After the decline of the mass party, interest groups protect their corporate interest by lobbying the decision-makers. The LRQ quadrant is the hidden part of the clientelist iceberg, where individuals stipulate contracts in a context of free market trying to avoid legal procedures and sanctions. Here the clientelist dynamic becomes corruption. [Luciano Brancaccio]