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Facing bureaucratic uncertainty in the Bolsa Família Program

Clientelism beyond reciprocity and economic rationality

Flávio Eiró and Martijn Koster

Clientelism is often analyzed along lines of moral values and reciprocity or an economic rationality. This article, instead, moves beyond this dichotomy and shows how both frameworks coexist and become entwined. Based on ethnographic research in a city in the Brazilian Northeast, it analyzes how the anti-poverty Bolsa Família Program and its bureaucracy are entangled with electoral politics and clientelism. We show how the program’s beneficiaries engage in clientelist relationships and exchanges to deal with structural precariousness and bureaucratic uncertainty. Contributing to understanding the complexity of clientelism, our analysis demonstrates how they, in their assessment of and dealing with political candidates, employ the frames of reference of both reciprocity and economic rationality in such a way that they act as a “counterpoint” to each other.

Open access

Postsocialist Mediterranean

Scalar gaze, moral self, and relational labor of favors in Eastern Europe

Čarna Brković

This article opens a conversation between anthropological studies of the Mediterranean and of postsocialism in order to propose the notion of a “scalar gaze” as an analytical approach useful for capturing veering practices in their social complexity. The article argues that favors (veze/štela, lit. relations, connections) in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina were a practice through which people fulfilled the demands of capitalist economy to be active, rather than a pre-capitalist excess that prevented “proper” development of the country into a neoliberal democracy. Zooming in and out and looking sideways between moral reasoning, internationally supervised structural changes of the job markets, and electoral politics, this article explores how the relational labor of favors reproduced moral selves, as well as hierarchy and inequality.

Open access

Audit failure and corporate corruption

Why Mediterranean patron-client relations are relevant for understanding the work of international accountancy firms

Cris Shore

Patron-clientelism and corruption were traditionally viewed as problems endemic to underdeveloped marginal countries with weak states, powerful self-serving elites, and widespread civic disengagement. However, recent decades have seen a dramatic increase in corruption scandals in the Global North, particularly its more developed banking and financial sectors. Paradoxically, this has occurred despite a massive expansion in auditing by international accountancy firms (KPMG, PwC, Deloitte, EY) who often portray themselves as warriors of integrity, transparency, and ethical conduct. How are these trends connected? Drawing on anthropological studies of Mediterranean patron-clientelism, I illustrate how collusive relations between accountancy firms and their clients create ideal conditions for corruption to flourish. Finally, I ask how can these accountancy scandals help us rethink patron-clientelism in an age of “audit culture”?

Open access

Sheikhs and the City

Urban Paths of Contention in Sidon, Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

Tripoli center to Sidon. This provided the Assir movement with a political platform amidst the city's entrenched poverty and clientelism, thus demonstrating the concomitant link between “Sheiks and the city” as detailed in the conclusion. This article is

Open access

Pac'Stão versus the City of Police

Contentious Activism Facing Megaprojects, Authoritarianism, and Violence

Einar Braathen

overcome the combination of social fragmentation and political clientelism. However, the ARV did not manage to develop a joint agenda with the public authorities, and not all the concerned communities supported it in this regard. Instead, the ARV responded

Open access

Masculinity on Stage

Dueling in the Greek Capital, 1870–1918

Dimitra Vassiliadou

army officers, and clientelism, which privileged a close, at times interpersonal relationship between politicians and constituents, the duel increasingly became a means to demonstrate in the public arena a man's integrity, and thus his legitimate claim

Open access

Collapse

Fake buildings and gray development in Nairobi

Constance Smith

the formal and informal sectors through studies of political clientelism, land markets, or entrepreneurship ( Boone 2012 ; Branch and Cheeseman 2009 ). In general, however, this has not overridden a common tendency to describe the informal as beyond

Open access

Theory from the Peripheries

What Can the Anthropology of Postsocialism Offer to European Anthropology?

Ognjen Kojanić

and the Former Soviet Union ( London : Routledge ). Brković , Č. ( 2017 ), Managing Ambiguity: How Clientelism, Citizenship and Power Shapes Personhood in Bosnia and Herzegovina ( New York : Berghahn Books ). 10.2307/j.ctvw04gv6

Open access

Laborers, Migrants, Refugees

Managing Belonging, Bodies, and Mobility in (Post)Colonial Kenya and Tanzania

Hanno Brankamp and Patricia Daley

partition or independence, descent (belonging to a recognized ethnic group in the colony), or naturalization after a specified period of lawful residency. Political manipulation and emerging clientelism further cemented binary distinctions between supposed

Open access

Federica Tarabusi

resources (such as housing, work, and education). New terms, such as mafija , foteljasi associated with political corruption and party clientelism, or lopovi to describe people who have benefited from the conflict, express a new, collective “moral order