Patrons, Clients and Friends: Interpersonal Relations and the Structure of Trust in Society

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The form of social relations described by the terms 'patronage' and 'patron-client relations' is of central concern to sociologists, anthropologists and political scientists today. Characterised by its voluntary and highly personal but often fully institutionalised nature, it is a type of behaviour found in almost every human society. It touches upon basic aspects of the construction and regulation of social order and is therefore closely connected to major theoretical problems and controversies in the social sciences. This book analyses some special types of these interpersonal relations - ritual kinship, patron-client relations and friendship - and the social conditions in which they develop. The authors draw upon a wide range of examples, from societies as diverse as these of the Mediterranean, Latin America, the Middle and Far East and the U.S.S.R., in their study of the core characteristics of such relationships. They look at them as mechanisms of social exchange, examine their impact on the institutional structures in which they exist, and assess the significance of the variations in their occurrence. Their analysis highlights the importance of these relationships in social life and concludes with a stimulating discussion of the ensuring tensions and ambivalences and the ways in which these are dealt with - though perhaps never fully overcome. Patrons, clients and friends is the first systematic comparative study of these interpersonal relations and makes the first attempt to relate them to central aspects of social structure. It will therefore be an important contribution to both comparative analysis and social theory and will be of interest to a wide range of social scientists.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521288903
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/18/1984
  • Series: Themes in the Social Sciences Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Luis Roniger is a comparative political sociologist, Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies at Wake Forest University, USA. He has been Research Fellow and has served in the Academic Board of various research institutes. His publications include ten books and numerous articles published in peer-reviewed, academic journals and chapters in collective books in English. Some of his publications have also been published in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew and German. He is known for his work on clientelism and patron-client relations, which covers three books and numerous articles, including Patrons, Clients and Friends (with SN Eisenstadt, CUP) and Clientelism, Democracy and Civil Society (with A. Gunes-Ayata, Lynne Rienner). He is also recognized for his contributions to the field of human rights in transitions to democracy, with a focus on the Southern Cone of the Americas, among them the book The Legacy of Human-Rights Violations in the Southern Cone (with M. Sznajder, OUP), published also in Spanish and Portuguese. A third area is the study of collective identities and public spheres in Latin America, which led to the publication of three collective volumes (by Sussex Academic Press), with contributions from leading scholars in the social sciences, history and the humanities.

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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Personal relations, trust and ambivalence in relations to the institutional order; 2. The construction of trust in the social order and its ambivalences: viewed from the development of sociological theory; 3. The structuring of trust in society: Unconditionalities, generalised exchange and the developement of interpersonal relations; 4. The basic characteristics and variety of patron-client relations; 5 The clientelistic mode of generalised exchange and patron-client relations as addenda to the central relations; 6. The social conditions generating patron-client relations; 7. Variations in patron-client relations; 8. Ritualised interpersonal relations; privacy; 9. Concluding remarks: The dialectics of trust and the social order; Notes; Index.

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