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Interdisciplinary Approaches to Political Clientelism and Patronage in Turkey

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The growth of interdisciplinary work in Turkish Studies has increased the likelihood that the findings will reach an audience in the academic world beyond those specializing in Turkey's history, politics, and society. Clientelism and patronage represent genuinely interdisciplinary concepts and they have been used widely in the social sciences and humanities. The main purpose of this paper is to assess the contribution of clientelism and patronage to the interdisciplinary approaches in Turkish Studies, with special emphasis on the origins and growth of party politics in Turkey. Since the mid-1970s, there have been two major research waves on political clientelism in Turkey. While the main focus of the early studies was on traditional patron–client relations in the provincial small-towns and villages, recent research has been primarily concerned with clientelistic networks and patronage distribution among the urban poor in the low-income districts of the major cities, especially Istanbul. Programmatic appeals, popularity of the leaders, and the management of the economy are important in shaping the preferences of the voters in Turkey. But an equally important factor is the distribution of goods and services in exchange for votes through political clientelism and patronage.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science and International Relations, Bah├žeşehir University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: October 2, 2014

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