P010
Patronage-clientelism 2.0: the legacy of Mediterraneanist anthropology in contemporary corruption/anti-corruption studies [MedNet]

Convenors:
Jutta Lauth Bacas (University of Malta)
Dorothy Louise Zinn (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
Discussant:
Dorothy L. Zinn (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)
Format:
Panels
Location:
U7-13
Start time:
22 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The legacy of Mediterraneanist studies is relevant for reflecting on contemporary patronage and corruption and on resistance and political change within newer collective protest. Proposals may draw on work in the Mediterranean or elsewhere, engaging the Mediterraneanist literature on the theme.

Long abstract:

Studies of clientelism, patronage and corruption have been relevant in the anthropology of the Mediterranean since the 1960s and 70s, describing practices that tend to persist even today in the region and informing studies elsewhere. Renewing these earlier lines of study, contemporary anthropological research focuses on current transformations in patron-client relationships in the light of the significant changes that Mediterranean societies have undergone since the 1980s. As various global scandals have recently highlighted (Volkswagen, FIFA, Olympic doping), however, the legacy of Mediterreanist patronage-clientelism studies also has implications well beyond the regional area. Alongside phenomena of persistence and change in practices of patronage and corruption, we perceive growing opposition and protest articulated by local communities or by new social movements, even transnationally and internationally. These movements develop new practices of collective protest such as on-line activism and digital networking, and in many locations, they see and define themselves in distinct opposition to the often clientelistic party structures of their countries. Contributors to the panel are invited to reflect on practices pertaining to patronage and corruption on one hand, and on resistance and political change within new political protest groups, solidarity initiatives and cultural projects which, on the other hand, have been rising in context of the economic crisis since 2008. Proposals may draw on anthropological work in Mediterranean settings or offer a comparative view from outside the area, engaging the literature on the Mediterranean, while reflecting on the global relations of power that configure discourses of patronage, corruption and transparency.