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Politics and Clientelism in Urban Ireland: information, reputation, and brokerage
Komito, Lee
Existing studies of Irish politics presume a clientelist exchange between politician and voter: the politician uses personal influence to obtain state benefits for the constituent, and the constituent provides electoral support in return. This study investigates the accuracy of this assumption by tracing how people actually obtain the state resources they need, and examining the exchanges between voter, politician, and bureaucrat that revolve around public resources. A number of issues are addressed. First, there is little data on how or why clientelism operates in urban Ireland, as most studies have examined only rural communities. Second, despite the clientelist rhetoric, the actual necessity for clientelist exchanges has not been demonstrated. Third, it is unclear which social and economic factors encourage voters to become clients, or what political benefits politicians receive by acting as patrons or brokers. Finally, the thesis investigates why clientelism should in fact exist in a homogeneous society which lacks politically salient ethnic, class, or regional divisions. Research shows that clientelism exists in Dublin, but politicians do not control material resources, but rather information regarding state benefits and access to the bureaucrats who allocate benefits. Often, politicians ensure that voters obtain benefits which they are entitled to, but which they might not otherwise receive. Politicians do not obtain a direct return for this assistance, but their enhanced reputation in the community increased their overall electoral support. Brokerage exchanges are most frequent among poorer segments of the community who are most dependent on state assistance. State officials help create the demand for information and access, while also helping politicians to satisfy those demands. Clientelism is both an urban and rural phenomenon; the control of information and access gives politicians considerable leverage over people who depend on state assistance.
Keyword(s): Irish politics; Clientelism; Urban Ireland; Information; Reputation; Brokerage; Irish brokers; Clients; Influence; Corruption; Patrons; County Council; Administration; Government planning; Dublin; Bribery; County Councillors; TDs; Rezoning; Development plan
Publication Date:
2019
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): University Microfilms International
First Indexed: 2019-05-11 06:31:04 Last Updated: 2019-05-11 06:31:04