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U.S. English
The following sentence appears in a political statement:

"...on a le sentiment que l’État devient aujourd’hui un État clientéliste, patrimonial."

There's been some discussion on this list about "clientélisme", which seems to refer to a relationship in which one party seeks to curry favor with the other in expectation of a reward. "Un État clientéliste" could be a state (or a government) that is beholden to certain interests. But what about "patrimonial"? I've seen "patrimonial" translated as "proprietary", and that might fit here, in the sense that the state has been captured by certain interests and become their private property.

Do others understand it this way, or am I missing something?

  • ChiMike

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    patrimonial: "based on inheritance"
    État clientéliste: crony state

    Ce sont mes terrains patrimoniaux. These are my family lands (are the lands I have inherited)


    Senior Member
    un État clientéliste, patrimonial="Système selon lequel une charge est obtenue par hérédité.
    I think here politicians are being accused of cronyism and of passing their priviledges to their children or relatives.


    France / French & English
    This refers to a concept known in political science as neopatrimonialism, a pattern of behavior that has emerged in many countries in the post-colonial era. When colonies became independent, their new leaders were greatly challenged as they had to establish political control without a foundation of historical legitimacy or institutional continuity to build upon. They typically ended up using market control (a consequence of their legal sovereignty) and manipulating resource access in order to increase their personal power. Essentially, they turned state affairs into private, family affairs (hence the patr-/pater root). National resources were therefore reallocated as personal favor to loyal followers who were devoted to the leaders instead of the formal institutions these leaders were supposed to represent.

    Clientelism refers to a similar issue, i.e., how political power is structured through networks of informal relations binding individuals (typically pairs) of unequal power in some kind of exchange. A clientelistic structure of authority is characterized by a concentration of power at the top and the top individual (sovereign, head of state, etc.) personally chooses how to allocate resources based on personal preferences.
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