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Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe

Listed author(s):
  • Kopecký, Petr
  • Scherlis, Gerardo
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    Party patronage is generally associated with social, economic and political underdevelopment, and is hence seen as largely irrelevant in the context of contemporary European politics. In this article, we argue to the contrary, proposing that patronage reappears on the stage of European politics as a critical organizational and governmental resource employed by political parties to enhance their standing as semi-state agencies of government. In order to illustrate our main contention, we first define party patronage, disentangling it from other notions of political particularism that are often used synonymously in the literature. Second, we provide a brief overview of the literature on the past and present of patronage practices in Europe, arguing that rather than declining, patronage is still likely to be a relevant feature of contemporary party politics in Europe. Finally, we analyse the role of party patronage in the light of recent developments in several European countries, identifying three distinct patterns of patronage practices in the region.

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal European Review.

    Volume (Year): 16 (2008)
    Issue (Month): 03 (July)
    Pages: 355-371

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:eurrev:v:16:y:2008:i:03:p:355-371_00
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    Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK

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