The representation of the poor: Structuring and maintaining political patronage in a Romanian town

Report: Political anchoring
By Antoine Roger

According to a standard analysis, patronage allows political leaders to obtain the loyalty of the most deprived sections of the population, without using any mobilizing discourse or partisan watchwords. Empirical research conducted in the Romanian city of Constanta leads to quite different conclusions. In order to get the support of the poorest voters, the mayor and his team engage in gathering them symbolically: they hand out individual advantages, and use general political categories, as well as attempting to cast their party as the advocate and defender of the poor and the needy. Then, the local maintenance of the political machine is embedded at the national scale and contributes to their social anchorage.


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