What Is Patronage? A Critical Reexamination

Authors

  • Domonic A. Bearfield

    Corresponding author
    1. Texas A&M University
      Domonic A. Bearfield is an assistant professor in the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He received his doctorate from Rutgers University–Newark. His research interests include patronage, representation, and reform.
      E-mail:dbearfield@bushschool.tamu.edu
    Search for more papers by this author

Domonic A. Bearfield is an assistant professor in the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. He received his doctorate from Rutgers University–Newark. His research interests include patronage, representation, and reform.
E-mail:dbearfield@bushschool.tamu.edu

Abstract

Despite a long and storied history, patronage and the functions it plays in American politics and public administration are still very much a mystery. This paper examines how patronage has been used and understood in American political science and public administration. The author calls for a reexamination of the concept based on developments found in the field of anthropology. In an effort to generate future scholarship, the author introduces a typology of patronage styles based on this reexamination.

Ancillary