Oppositional Politics and Gramsci's Civil Society: Patron-Clientelism in Jordan and Value-Centered Scholarship
Date of Award
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
Nader Hashemi, Ph.D.
Andrea Stanton, Ph.D.
Antonio Gramsci, Civil society, Oppositional politics
Patron-clientelism or wasta in Jordan is a historically engrained institution that crosses social, political and economic spheres. For those with sufficient resources to enter into its system of exchange, patron-clientelism grants access to university admissions, government privileges and employment. For those without sufficient resources, patron-clientelism creates a barrier to entry that sustains the marginalized status of persons from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Most scholarship about patron-clientelism portrays it as something dynamic, inherently neither morally constructive nor problematic but with the potential to be both. By focusing on various historical manifestations of patron-clientelism, such scholarship detracts attention from its reprehensible effects. Posing as value-free, this literature implicitly apologizes for patron-clientelism and reinforces the entrenched political and economic structures it reflects.
To step beyond existing literature surrounding patron-clientelism - the perpetually expanding but only marginally helpful registry of ways in which it manifests - requires deeper consideration of its effect. This thesis will argue that in the case of Jordan, patron-clientelism tends to function in the service of dominant fundamental social groups and at the expense of subaltern classes. Using Antonio Gramsci's civil society, patron-clientelism in Jordan will be shown to operate as a mechanism of authoritarian resiliency and a means of debilitating oppositional political currents. By understanding its existing ramifications in depth, potential for redirecting the function of patron-clientelism toward alternative and oppositional effects can be realized.
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Preisig, Stephen James, "Oppositional Politics and Gramsci's Civil Society: Patron-Clientelism in Jordan and Value-Centered Scholarship" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1682.
Received from ProQuest
Stephen James Preisig