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Against the norm: the transitional symbiosis of grassroots clientelism and rural citizenship

Zograa Bika
Abstract
Clientelism has predominantly been represented in the literature as an expression of backwardness and corruption with little attention being paid to the question of how clientelism has changed over the years. In contrast, this paper examines the particulars of state intervention in the agrarian economy with respect to clientelism and exposes the illogicality of contrasting patron-client relationships with citizenship. The historical focus is on the ways in which, in the course of post-dictatorship consolidation in rural Greece throughout the 1980s, the transformation of traditional brokerage-based clientelism into the bureaucratic clientelism of the political parties actually enhanced the institutions and practices of rural citizenship. Comparative qualitative research on the driving force of agrarian change shows how Thessalian villagers made the transition from being socially excluded subjects to socially included clients in two lowland village communities and the role played by a dynamic state bureaucracy.

Introducing the analytical perspective


By cutting across theoretical traditions, political clientelism is conceptualised in this paper as a remarkable method of mutually benecial socio-economic transaction between unequal parties that is played out by collective or individual actors. In other words, clientelism refers to the links through which the village broker or single villager is linked vertically to the wider society as gatekeepers or individualised clients respectively (Lemarchand and Legg, 1972; Goussios, 1995; Sotiropoulos, 1994). This papers comparative ethnographic case study research in Thessaly, rural Greece, treats clientelism as an essential part of the growing trend of state integration and capitalist penetration, as the latter trends are evidenced by Kasimis and Papadopoulos (1997), with special attention to the villagers external relations, material commitments and shared understandings. It adopts a critical cultural political economy perspective (Sayer, 2001), incorporating an actor-oriented approach that views village power structures as regulated, distributed and acted upon by
The Sociological Review, 59:2 (2011) 2011 The Author. The Sociological Review 2011 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review. Published by Blackwell Publishing Inc., 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, 02148, USA.

Against the norm

different actors (Marsden, 1992; Buttel, 2001) and brings together ethnography, history and embeddedness in order to constitute a more culturally sensitive and less problem-driven appreciation of economic relations (Bika, 2007; Narotzky, 2007; Green, 2008). However, this political economy differs from the top-down approach of neo-Marxist analyses of Greek rural transformation (Mouzelis, 1976; 1978; Vergopoulos, 1978) that primarily recognized collective agency caught up in an unequal macro-exchange and examined individual farmers as undifferentiated products of institutional systems. It is theoretically closer to the so-called peasant studies (Moore, 1966; Wolf, 1969; Scott, 1985) that manage to avoid a universalistic conception of the seeds of the capitalist mode of production or social exchange, which are seen instead as conjectural, actor-centric and historically-specic (Brenner, 1976; Narotzky, 2007; Bika, 2007; Hung, 2008). It also resists the persistence through differentiation neo-populist thesis and its endogenous development models (for a review, see Kasimis and Papadopoulos, 1997; Bika, 2007) that focus on the micro (internal) characteristics (most importantly, the pluriactivity and heterogeneous employment practices) of Greek family farm adjustment to post-war capitalism through the positivist medium of locally-based survey research. By contrast, the papers theoretical stance embraces the fuzziness of the distinction between scales and especially micro- and macro-level interpretation (Sayer, 2000; 2001; Bika, 2007) or, in terms of rhetorical oppositions, between peasant particularities and government discourse. This framework rejects the epistemology that earlier on separated political economy analytically from the voice at the rural grassroots and its evaluative judgements, leaves behind the concept of the state-as-theexternal other and examines villagers lived experiences in order to detect systemic regularity and the organisation of cultural difference (Sayer, 2000; 2001: 689) thus striving to reconstruct how state intervention has been intertwined with village group interests. In particular, this paper: charts the slow transformation in the perception at the rural grassroots of clientelism, studies situated patron-client interactions between rural actors embedded in particular experiences, and thus attempts to resolve an impasse in theories of clientelism by looking at its practice. It offers historical evidence against the conventional underestimation in functionalist, modernisation and anthropological accounts (Baneld, 1958; Campbell, 1964; Lemarchand and Legg, 1972; Mouzelis, 1978; Herzfeld, 2003; Schneider and Schneider, 2005; Mattina, 2007) of the positive aspects of clientelism in the South as an alternative form of civil resistance, albeit with a few recent exceptions in Latin American research (Lazar, 2004; Schneider and ZunigaHamlin, 2005). Both Kaufman (1974) and Soiffer and Howe (1982) agreed more than two decades ago on the conceptualisation of clientelism as being neither static nor a cultural survival in its empirical application. Beyond conventional wisdom, this paper shows how a less structured and more processual exchange of diverse services and resources takes place among asymmetrically reciprocal parties over a long period and how clientelistic ties metamorphose
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from being structural creators of centre-periphery dependency to those of subjective and historically-specic civil connectedness. To evaluate critically the positive aspects of clientelism, the paper examines in practice the way in which grassroots clientelism has given way to citizenship within the increasing modernisation of the Greek countryside in distinct historical periods. This process is, however, against the norm that prescribes universalistic and undifferentiated relations as being a prerequisite for citizenship. Such a normative transcendence occurs amidst the onslaught of modernity itself that is conceptualised here as detaching systems from the lifeworld (ie the world as given in experience), disembedding economy from culture and pursuing progress (Sayer, 2001; Bromley, 1991). In overview: before commencing the analysis, the extant literature on clientelism and citizenship is reviewed and an introduction to the empirical study in terms of methodology and historical background presented, then a wealth of qualitative data on villagers perceptions, conditions and relations is deciphered and conclusions drawn.

Greek clientelism revisited


In classical functionalist anthropology (Campbell, 1964), the Sarakatsani transhumant shepherd community is seen as being integrated piecemeal with the wider Greek society along unique lines of personal, moral and familial obligation, and patron-client relationships. This perspectives main collective actor remains the extended family and its inevitable inclinations, with Sarakatsani attitudes towards brokers and clients being represented as timeless and unchanging. Clientelism as a heterogeneous and uid cultural reality is virtually non-existent here. On the other hand, neo-Marxist thought has explored the relationship of class structure and clientelistic political practices in Greece. Thus Mouzelis (1978) distinguishes between functional evolutionism, in favour of dual models that move from traditional clientelism to modern class politics, and the Marxist application of the mode of production concept to societies more or less favourable to patronage. Spourdalakiss (1988) counterargument is also prominent in its claim that clientelism cannot be understood in class terms alone. Changes in government action, resources, political process, dependencies and class relations are responsible for the transformation of clientelistic practices rather than just changes in the articulation of competing modes of production. Finally, Herzfelds (2003) anthropological account of everyday (centre-periphery) responses to Greek nationalistic discourse offers an alternative view of clientelism in the face of the centres monopolisation of nationhood, ownership of history and manipulation of moral economy. Overall, it is as much the structure of whole communities as selfperpetuating bounded systems versus the capitalist mode of production and its collective (or institutional actors) which bear the burden of classical 350
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sociological explanation of clientelistic practices as the anthropological emergence of new localisms that reproduces the dichotomous thinking of client-based particularism versus citizen-related universalism. Village life is treated more as the politics of community (group) membership rather than as the private actions of individuals with their sense of justice. But the course of group development as the product of individual action, judgement and entrepreneurial drives is largely ignored (Boissevain, 1968). In this conceptual framework clientage relations are examined only negatively, as destructive forces in the public sphere responsible for backwardness, and thus are dismissed by mainstream scholars as some sort of civil casualty in the process of modern interest formation. However, at the local level, clientelism practically exists everywhere, not restricted to traditional or underdeveloped societies. In practice, what varies, is the nature of clientage relations (collective, aggressive, personalised, authoritarian, bureaucratic, or grassroots), their level of application (individual, family, village, regional or state) and their actors degree of social integration (monopolistic, oligarchic or pluralistic). To specify, there is a theoretical consensus among Greek political writers (Mouzelis, 1978; Spourdalakis, 1988; Lyrintzis, 1984, 1987; Sotiropoulos, 1994) that post-war Greek clientelism gradually became less oligarchic and more party-oriented as the capitalist mode of production increasingly dominated and orientations, allegiances and resources shifted from the local to the national level (Mouzelis, 1978: 487). In a macro-historical framework, Marantzidis and Mavrommatiss typology of clientelism (1999) serves heuristic purposes. It pivots on the main axis of defensive-aggressive clientelism, with the former being concerned with the minimalist avoidance of the deterioration of socially excluded clients social status (rights) and the latter with the promotion of upward social mobility of more socially integrated clients. Marantzidis and Mavrommatis (1999) used the case of Gypsies in the small town of Sofades (also in Thessaly) to explore how the defensive type of clientelism reproduces the framework of social exclusion that the Gypsies experience. Thus this paper also takes on the idea of aggressive clientage relations which are seen as an instrument for co-optation (Gould, 1996).

The rise of rural citizenship


The age-old divisions between liberalism and republicanism, with the formers understanding of the citizen as an individual bearer of universalistic rights and the latters as one who actively participates in public life, have dominated the discussion of the rights and duties of the citizen (Dahrendorf, 1974; Lister, 1998). A broad denition of citizenship is embraced here, which goes beyond a received membership of the nation (voting, military service or nationalistic discourse) to public participation in exercising and changing rights and obligations (Roberts, 1995: 184). The notion of citizenship has been contested in a different fashion to that of clientelism, with the spatial understanding of civil
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membership based on common residence wrestling with that of cultural heritage and its shared symbolism in a borderless world (Glenn, 2000). Citizenship can no longer be singly associated with nationhood, rationality, civic memory, psychological requisites of social commitment, urban connotations (ie inhabitant of a town) or any other territorially based and undifferentiated notions of community (Dahrendorf, 1974; Nisbet, 1974; Dagger, 1981; Portis, 1986; Turner, 1990, 2001; Lister, 1998). Most importantly, the single-minded embodiment of citizenship in a national state has given way to the newly formed realities of dual citizenship, consumer citizenship, European citizenship, environmental citizenship, global citizenship and rural citizenship among others.As Parker and Ravenscroft inform us (2001: 389),what we appear to be experiencing is a wholesale deconstruction of the very idea of universal rights and its replacement with (common) interest-driven rights and different types of citizenship.This is the unmasking of rural citizenship that is understood here to refer to differentiated rural actors who share equal status (rights), and to run in transitional harmony with grassroots clientelism at the local level. It was rst T.H. Marshalls anglophile and evolutionary perspective (1950) on the historical emergence of citizenship, ie a successive emergence of civil (freedom of speech/thought/faith), political (free elections), and social rights (a modicum of economic welfare), which failed to put an emphasis on a notion of social struggles as the central motor for citizenship (Turner, 1990: 193). However, as Turner informs us (1990: 195), the character of citizenship varies systematically between different societies or, as he adds later on (2001: 191), citizenship has assumed very different forms in Europe in relation to different patterns of capitalist development. The development of various forms of citizenship (including rural) thus becomes possible as the result of mixing passive and active rights; it is no longer an ideal-type situation. In the making of citizenship, the importance of universalistic rights bestowed upon members and the varieties of their particularistic interests is commensurate with the impact of achieving active citizenship on individuals local loyalties, commitments and trust. In this context, grassroots clientelism can connect experientially the equality of opportunity that citizenship promises (state) with the inequality of position (economy) that class development brings into group life (village community). Class is used here in the Weberian way of viewing social action in terms of individual motives, competition and life-chances. The process of rural citizenship in post-war rural Thessaly emerges here as a set of local/regional class relationships, which acts as a facilitator of civil society that is temporarily mediated by grassroots clientelism. The role of the incoherent Greek state is reduced to reconciling the wider forces of localism and globalism. This is an analysis of rural citizenship from below which emerged as complementary to social/class struggles over increased state resources for governance, welfare, education, bureaucracy and democracy. It thus questions Marshalls argument (1950: 40) that the capitalist class system requires a system of citizenship for legitimation the latter being itself an 352
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outcome of the warring principles of the state and the economy in Somerss words (1993: 610) and counter-argues that other intermediary, institutionally embedded and reactive forces might also be at play. This paper stresses that which differentiates individual villagers from each other and how these differentiated interests integrate villagers into wider society and facilitate active citizenship. Most importantly for this papers argument, these citizens are not on their way to self-denial (for example, patriotism, nationalism, civic duty, Christianity, tradition or morals) as opposed to what is somehow assumed to be the case for national citizenship by the liberal tradition. These citizens are just as likely to rise against the national state for particularistic reasons (distributive justice), as ght in its defence for universalistic premises (rural immobilities). But most importantly, they are able to act as citizens, no longer citizens-to-be, in the encounter of state and community amidst nation-building.

Research methods
The ndings of this paper are based on a years participant observation that was carried out in the Thessalian plain, a predominantly agricultural area where average farm size is among the highest in Greece, and which is characterised by technologically sophisticated methods of production and heavily subsidised and intensive arable cultivation. It is a comparative study of two lowland communities of irrigated cotton producers, reputed to be relatively viable and economically successful and sharing the same topography, external environment, and population size (1,500 inhabitants). Whilst the rst village, named Kotsari, has a long history and residency in the region, Zobas, the other, is quite recent and was constituted in 1925 by Bulgarian immigrants of Greek origin. In the days of land reform (1920s), Zobass family units were allotted 6.9 ha1 of expropriated land of relatively poor quality, whilst Kotsari received only 4.5 ha of arable land per family unit by virtue of its higher population density and better opportunities for irrigation. Half a century later highly differentiated property groups were found accurately to portray the variations between sizes (from small landholdings of 13 ha to the lager ones of 120 ha). The collected data comprised 60 oral history interviews from different rural households, which were equally split between the two villages, alongside archival work (scrutinising the minutes of the communal councils in each village since 1950). Overall, less than half of the sample was interviewed on a one-toone basis (25 individual interviews), there were 6 group interviews in public places, as well as conversations in home situations with more than one family member participating (29 family interviews). The study searched for validity via the comparative method and the use of marginal cases, but also focused on men in these household interviews (only 7 interviews out of 60 were primarily conducted with women), this was because men still strongly dominate local politics and decision-making (including the coffee-shops and community
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councils) in rural Greece. A type of snowball sampling was employed, which involved using a number of key informants insiders to identify a list of over 60 persons who were typical of a differentiated community membership. Different variables were used so that each respondent was accurately placed in the economic setting (labour status, occupation, access to land ie land ownership and land rent) and his or her partial account was adequately assessed as being from a different status situation (gender, kinship, neighbourhood, generation, education, leadership and partnership scheme). A systematic and careful sampling was made to ensure contact with a range of economic conditions, kinship ties, and generations.

Linking policy, locality and history


Three major political events mark the post-war history of rural Greece: the civil war of 194649 followed by a victorious right-wing regime of repressive parliamentarianism (Mouzelis, 1976), the dictatorship years of 196774, and EU membership since 1981 with its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) accompanied by political pluralism and democratisation. In the 1950s, the state and policy-makers began to regard the agricultural sector as a fundamental component in the development process. After the Second World War, Greek agriculture thus operated as a sector increasingly complementary to the urban economy, whose main functions were to ensure a cheap food supply and offer a labour reservoir (Vergopoulos, 1978; Maraveyas, 1992). The extraction of agricultural surplus through state-imposed ceilings on the price of food was adopted as the only strategy for the much-desired industrial development of the country. In the 1960s, a new government of the Centre Union (19631965) introduced a greater social awareness of agricultural policies, an orientation towards the improvement of living conditions of farmers, and a block on rural exodus. Price policies became more signicant and were targeted on the reimbursement of agriculture for its previous losses which resulted from the articially suppressed food prices of earlier years (Maraveyas, 1992; Karampelias, 1989). For the period of 196267 (including a series of caretaker governments), these price policies annually absorbed 8.8% of the state budget (Maraveyas, 1992: 902), while in 195361, the same gure barely exceeded 2.2%. Such state intervention focused for the rst time on agricultural income, whilst still having an eye on the need to keep down the cost-of-living index. However, the task of promoting a cost-effective system of production through structural modernisation was left on hold. This embryonic trend was then considerably amplied during the Dictatorship (19671974) by the Colonels comprehensive state-driven intervention at the local level. In 1968 all previous farmers long and medium term debts to the Agricultural Bank of Greece (ATE) were written off by the Colonels, and for the rst time cheap credit (interest rates of 2%) was given out more freely 354
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by ATE as many applications were only vaguely scrutinised. Moreover, the abolition of the price-support prices for wheat, and its replacement by a system of minimum intervention prices, thus the government intervenes only if crop prices fall below a xed minimum price, allowed for a more systematic play of market forces in agriculture, as Yannopoulos adds (1972: 122). For the rst time, the market became a key element in the countryside, which led to a more rational allocation of farming household resources. In the election of October 1981 the Socialist Party (PASOK), captured an absolute parliamentary majority to form the rst socialist government in Greek history. According to Ioakimidis (in Williams, 1984: 47), PASOK was almost branded by some commentators as a party of rural protest precisely because of its widespread support among the rural population. In macro-economic terms, government discourse and action changed quite dramatically in the 1980s by increasingly using the sense of community in its repertoire, whilst the state gained power by the populist repetition of provision rather than by a series of penalty shoot-outs and detached speeches, as was previously the case. Expenditure related to the farming product rose sharply from 13.8% in 19741980, to 35% in 19811988, whilst expenditure on structural investment fell from 4.3% in 19741980, to 4% between 1981 and 1989 (Louloudis and Maraveyas, 1997: 272). In the pre-dictatorship period there were direct benets such as bonuses, credit and contract farming that usually accompanied the few followers of the differential advice given exclusively by visiting agronomists (agricultural extension ofcers who acted as facilitators of new knowledge transfer to farmers), whereas in the 1980s Thessalian villagers became eligible to enjoy standardised and more inclusive benets. In Thessaly, widely distributed farm modernisation plans (EC Council Regulation 797/85 replaced by 2328/91, then by 950/97 on Improving the Efciency of Agricultural Structures and nally 1257/99 on Support for Rural Development), compensatory allowances, guaranteed prices, and the availability of relevant information to large farmers who now individually consulted the agronomists by paying visits to their ofces on their own initiative, signalled change. In the 1990s, state protectionism and support for farming income beyond the means of the national economy (with large and ever rising budget decits and debt) was no longer an option for politicians. Uncritical adoption of Europeanization has thus substituted for a lack of domestic strategic policy planning in rural development issues (Papadopoulos and Liarikos, 2007: 295). In this policy framework, the CAP-guaranteed prices and subsidised crops of the prosperity years of 19811989 gave way to national quota limits (supply controls) and the co-responsibility levy which penalised cotton overproduction (from 1989). Consequently, falling cotton prices, public disappointment and indignation led to inevitable conict. According to Louloudis and Maraveyas (1997: 279), in November 1996, the biggest agricultural union protest ever since the restoration of parliamentary democracy in Greece, took place (3,000 to 5,000 tractors blocked the roads in Thessaly). Thessalian
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farmers united across villages, in an expression of citizenship as against village community, and learnt how to ght against an inconsiderate and unfair state for what they perceived as their legitimate rights.

The impact of government action as localised discourse


Throughout this ebb-and-ow of modernisation the impact of government action as localised discourse on Thessalian rural citizens mindset has not been a singular one and has diversied signicantly over time. At rst, the post-war hegemony of a nationalistic ideology (Pollis, 1987; Pantazopoulos, 2001) which combined anti-communism, Orthodox Christianity and Greekness socialised all villagers, after the view of peasant politics taken by Scott (1977: 242), only marginally to accept either their fate or the values that ordained that fate. However, this repressive parliamentarianism beneted only those regarded as holding politically acceptable views and represented the normative basis for creating biased enmities/loyalties to a particular cause. But by the political hangover of 1974, this ideological hegemony was abolished by the new democratic regime, a change which was sign-posted by the legalisation of the Communist Party (Act of 23-09-1974). Until the 1980s, many rural people felt not only politically and ideologically ostracised by an authoritarian rightwing state, but excluded from the fruits of the countrys increasing prosperity and the emergence of a consumer society (Clogg, 1992: 183). Clientelistic practices changed hands from village brokers and local patrons operating on an undisputed personalised basis of favours and accommodations to the post1981 local representatives of the parties who dealt with the satisfaction of the individualist and sectoral type demands of the governing party members (Spourdalakis, 1988). By the early 1980s, the political parties, nanced by the strengthened state apparatus itself, dismissed the so-called heads of the village from their duties as independent and localised gateways of state power and directly nanced the grassroots demands of their rural clients (the clientele chain was cropped). Parochial politics (19461974) In the early post-war period, the male village president and/or broker functioned both as a commanding ofcer within the village and as a collective client to the outside world. He led the course of action towards goals already set by the community as a whole whilst his power remained circumscribed by a lack of large-scale external funding. By using internal inuence through his typical function as a trader, labour recruiter and moneylender, the village president often gained certain MPs post-electoral political support. This enabled him to avoid other rivals operating as potential aggressors against his community as a totality and, consequently, protect his own personal interests as the controlling hands at the point of entry for incoming nancial aid. This 356
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was the historical moment that the Marshall Plan (194752) was transferring large funds to the Greek countryside in order to accelerate the post-war recovery. This was also the time when villagers could be gathered in the village square and ordered to perform in a certain way and the lack of institutionalised means for access to the state was omnipresent. And so villagers had to lie in wait for politicians passing by the national road to ask them for help as earthquake victims, as Nikos Vlasis, Zobass village president, admitted. This type of clientelistic practice was meant to be defensive and it prevented the post-war Thessalian villagers from surmounting their subordinate isolation and consequently, socio-economic exclusion from the wider world. The earthquake in 1954 represents an example of such practices. As this ex-village president and ourmill owner in Zobas remembers: I succeeded in supplying the villagers with free food aid for three years after the earthquake of 1954, mainly by using my contacts and abilities. No one was left hungry. I gave each family a tin pot of olive oil in a period where it was in such short supply that villagers measured olive oil in drops. Later, you can imagine how much the villagers wanted to keep me as village president. I had said to them: Do not be afraid, the earthquake will save us, meaning that it will save them from poverty. Until now, parochial communities had been comprised of second-class citizens who were only allowed minimal claims and rights. As Zobass community secretary explains, when villagers used to come to the community ofce, they took their hats off and if I told them that I was busy and could not help them immediately, then they would never be rude to me. Then, they were afraid of us, state ofcials. In a similar fashion, the villagers outcry against basic deprivation such as the lack of water supply in Kotsari was not consolidated into an organised movement against authority. Instead, in a self-acknowledged powerlessness mainfested into a call for religious intervention. This was their only perceptible form of resistance in a world of parochial politics: According to the document Y.M./1348 of the Social Welfare Ministry, a drilling machine for the water supply of our village could not be sent to us . . . Our community council then declared that they would resign as one, if this request remained unattended as they could no longer endure the day-to-day complaints and curses of their fellow villagers (Council Minutes, Kotsari, 25-04-1957). Villagers, especially those who were previously seen working as hired labour in the epoch of pre-mechanisation, only very slowly lost faith in their strong, durable personal bonds with the ex-polyvalent, but steady patrons (Damianakos, 1997: 205). George Buras (communist and owner of 2.8 ha in Kotsari) tells the story of the early post-war village electoral power:
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We voted for whoever we thought was the most suitable for our village interests, we did not have political parties. Whoever was educated, capable and a good man was elected as the village president. Giannis Nikas was elected because he was dynamic, treated villagers to drinks in the coffeeshops, could stand security for them, and could also provide collateral and employment, so one felt obliged to vote for him. The absence of party politics at the local level was paramount and found in clear agreement with what the council minutes (Zobas, 10-08-1952) reported as being responsible for the early post-war dismissal of the village president: The village president was mixed up in scandalous politics and campaigned for the political party Greek Rally by announcing propaganda on his loudspeakers and by sending campaign letters, as ofcial paperwork, to the community council . . . He even appointed his incompetent supporter as community secretary after dismissing the previous one without even consulting the councillors. However, the early post-war oligarchic parliamentary Greek state which remained in power by systematic exclusion and patron-client control of introverted lowland Thessalian communities gave way to a centralised dictatorship predicated upon the control of structures and the creation of uniform individuals. The Colonels were not ideologically in favour of an emergence of powerful individuals constituting a peasant bourgeoisie because they subscribed to the schematic notions of populist corporatism and an undifferentiated people. The Colonels breakdown of old hierarchies with the introduction of infrastructure, ample credit, electrication (1968) and other home improvements, launched the process of freeing the individual from patriarchal rule provided that the Patriarchs time-honoured judgement was no longer a valuable guide to the most appropriate economic action in times of invasive change (Bika, 2012). The Dictatorship offered not only cheap credit to the peasants, but also showed them that they could free themselves from their dependence on the local elite. During the Dictatorship, however, an increasing number of villagers became familiar with the widespread ofcial totalitarian hierarchy and learnt how to use it in order to better their own interests. The regime equipped them with these means, and in doing so, paradoxically provided them with protection against an abusive state apparatus. The politically moderate peasant thus became an agent seeking economic success, by following a uniform state-driven process and perceived the military regime as a simple shift of the post-war autocratic power from political to military hands. The regime attacked only the left-wing MPs, affecting the heads of the villages and the party leaders (Nestoras Tezokas, owner of 5 ha and Kotsaris ex-village president of the left-wing persuasion). It left the silent masses undisturbed, allowing them to go on with their lives as long as they behaved properly as real or at least supposed supporters of the regime. 358
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If you had guts you could go to the Agricultural Bank and get whatever you wanted. State ofcials had to perform in their jobs provided that their posts were not permanent at that time. If you applied for a loan, the bank employees owed to provide services. If they did not and you were entitled to what you applied for, you could complain to their superiors. Everybody was scared; so they did their jobs perfectly. Once a villager applying for a loan got rejected but said: You gave the loan to this person and not to me, so I will complain to the regional director. Employees panicked and went out to stop him. He ended up getting his loan with no further problems. One could nd justice then (Tasos Notaras, owner of 10.7 ha in Kotsari). It was, ironically, only during the Colonels period that villagers economic claims were legitimated with formal justication, even though other liberal rights, such as the freedom of speech, were abolished. What should not be overlooked in this period is that the opposed parties were always comparable in terms of their loyalty to the nationalist ideology of the regime in order to be allowed to disagree. In the early 1970s, the fall of the traditional sense of community development was also initiated when the Greek central government started to take all the main communal services into its own control, in order to place its own appointees, who would then inuence the people as Daoutopoulos (1991: 134) describes. The totalitarian regime encouraged the standardisation of administration and frightened the state ofcials who now that they had to give an explanation for their actions, could not fail to deliver the central governments will and help the people reach the Colonels promised land. Stelios Samaritidis vivid account of his days as Zobas appointed village vice-president is illustrative: The water supply was once disrupted, so I was waiting on the main road when, by chance, a Major passed by. I explained to him I cannot nd anyone to repair the damage. His answer was Go get the village president and immediately dig it all up yourselves and so within two hours we managed to repair it. The everlasting need to call on somebody elses resources retained its clientelist might in post-war Thessaly, but slowly faced a transformation. This materialised in the form of the gradual replacement of the brokers paternalistic protection from a semi-capitalist articulation of the post-war local system with its exterior, by populist understandings of the modern states favourability and the rural citizens right to make a claim on it. At this time, the traditional heads of the villages had already lost their power as local employers due to mechanisation, whilst a peasants self-sufciency had decreased commensurately. This also coincided, not by chance, with the abolition of the indigenous institution of compulsory unpaid local labour for the building-up of the necessary village infrastructure as a result of increasing monetization. As stated in the minutes of Kotsaris community council (3-11-1976):
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this institution discriminates against villagers in comparison with city dwellers, treating the rst as second class citizens on the assumption that villagers lack pecuniary means. However, the time has arrived that villagers can now pay their contributions to the state with money instead of labour. The greatest among equals early post-war leadership principle, accompanied by a monopoly of local power in the Thessalian rural context of antagonistic dealings with the Greek state, had gradually given way to the populist rhetoric of Greek state intervention as an opportunity for access to increased state-level resources. The early democratic experiment (19751996) It was thus the processes of individualised property and accumulated investment during the late 1970s that provided ordinary villagers with opportunities to save (realisation of self), to develop an agenda for their rights and to have condence in their ability to make claims for things and plan ahead. These rights were admitted as valid and true in the 1980s when Thessalian villagers learnt how to exercise them as part of their emerging social mobility aspirations via an aggressive type of clientage relations prevailing under conditions of EU resource abundance. Each villager chose to select their tastes and priorities from various sources, ie political parties, womens associations, cultural societies, coffee-shops, machinery-ring groups, agricultural co-operatives, community councils, farmers unions and landless associations. The common villagers were no longer seen as wholly determined, acting out traditional and thus non resource-based roles, but as individuals or collectivities who exercised reason, choice and will, engaged in exchange strategies (emphasis added), as Lukes points out in his discussion of power and structure (1977: 17). For the rst time, villagers were found to have the ability and the opportunity both to act or not act, and enjoyed the capacity to bring about intended effects (Lukes, 1977: 17). Such a process was exemplied in the last of such village elections in 1994, when grassroots leaders were used to control and inuence the traditional collection of sectional interests. The current village president was elected because of a deal, with villagers from the outskirts choosing to vote for him so they could have a fair chance at, for example, having the road in their neighbourhood asphalted or building a playground there. They did not vote for somebody else, because this other belonged to the dominant cliques and he was unwilling to help them, in favour of others. In the past, everything was missing, and only the rich villagers could be elected. Now, anybody can become the village president (Thanos Sgouros, owner of 3 ha in Kotsari). In this context, brokerage also became optional. The state apparatus and its redistributive functions were now extended and were consequently available for almost everybodys citizen-friendly use or clientelist misuse. In any case, 360
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such a uniform extension amounted to the embodiment of an active participatory of citizenship (achieving membership). A 67 year old merchant and owner of 80 ha in Kotsari remembers these details of his clientelistic ordeal: The state agronomist told me You are a merchant, so you are not entitled to register for this programme. My reply was What kind of merchant am I that prevents me from registering when I own and cultivate 80 ha? He wanted a kickback. I said I do not want you to forward my application. He answered Leave it with me and we will see. Finally I applied for a refund of the whole amount that I had invested (1,800,000 Drs), but he told me that the regulations made it impossible to offer me more than 800,000 Drs. I replied You should offer me 600,000 Drs. In the end, after this haggling, I got 300,000 Drs. The procedures existed, but were not followed correctly, because we were not the right people. This addresses how the unique workings of traditional clientelism were initially transformed into reproducible commodities by juggling with state procedures themselves, witnessing the clientelist celebration of private possessions in the use of EU public money and the links between populism and standardisation, favouritism and bargaining, subsidisation and citizenship. Citizens welfare rights ironically arrived on the back of grassroots clientelism. This was the social origin of a nation whose uncontested establishment was signied in the 1980s by the completed transition of these villagers from members of discrete local economies to a gradual integration into the national market and institutions, rst as its disinherited sons and then as its pampered boys. As Stelios Gleoudis, carpenter and owner of 12 ha in Zobas, explains: In the past we the peasants did not know that we had rights. When we saw that the state treated other classes in a different way, we then started to demand things as well. Why does the state nail me down, and promote you when you have no need for such help? Why do they have to tie me down further because by chance I am caught up in farming or lack qualications? When these long-oppressed villagers faced a more democratic situation they tended to be composed of crowds of individual clients and factions of corporate interests rather than becoming a common people who knew what they wanted in terms of proper and fair treatment. The individual villagers approached their local party organisation as the main pathway for securing their childrens share in public sector employment which had previously served as solely a depository of surplus labour of the urban social classes (Sotiropoulos, 1994: 351). The populist state of the 1980s shifted public attitudes towards an agricultural vote for parties, a veneer of consumerism and living in comfort for all. It boosted preference for party benets rather than political principles and increased the emerging rural constituency of agents
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and beneciaries by creating an ever-larger number of party middlemen and clients. Villagers became increasingly inclined to negotiate their vote with the mass parties in exchange for concrete advantages, which also helped them to sustain certain autonomy in regard to the farm enterprise in Goussioss words (1995: 327) this time an individualised link with the outside world. Consequently the group-oriented character of local society gave way to something more democratised, post-elitist, and subject to the rules of the party machine and grassroots clientelism.The most representative illustration of this transition was presented in the feud that took place in Zobas between the old landholders and the so-called landless concerning the distribution of community pasturage: In 1981 the Ministry of Agriculture took the decision to distribute the community land that was left aside as pasturage from the old days of land expropriation to the old landholders. Unfortunately, a ctitious association of landless villagers was born which pleaded to the Minister not to go ahead and demanded the distribution of this community land among the landless instead of its lawful beneciaries, the old landholders. They said We will blackball you, unless you stop this land distribution, so they made him quash the previous decision. The landless sons could claim no land ownership status because the land they worked still belonged to their wives, parents or sisters. The paternal land was commonly divided unequally among the siblings, so some tried to get compensation for the loss suffered from not getting their fair share by claiming some extra land, from the state. This story separated us (Lampros Papamixos, Zobass community secretary). Since the accession of Greece into the EU, the villagers had been talking as individualised clients to the states supposed administrators and parliamentary candidates, who now made tours of the village coffee-shops in rural Thessaly. The new rural actors sought the clientelist connection, which no longer rested in the monopolistic hands of the village brokers as representative of fellow villagers, but in those of the individualised clients themselves. An older village structure nucleated by kinship ties and unied by corporate values, whose members used to meet local problems collectively, therefore came to terms with this overwhelming modernising process through an individualised use of the newly available institutions of the state-controlled bureaucracy and party politics.

Grassroots clientelism as a novel way of citizen participation


In an unbroken view of the passing political scene, a new and distinctive type of clientelism, no longer of a collective or authoritarian nature, was seen to replace all previous forms of anti-communist discrimination in the 1980s. The 362
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new democratic parties invested a considerable amount of resources and campaigning effort in the creation of a mass of strong yet unreasoning supporters who ended up presenting excessive demands as their own legitimate rights by virtue of their partisan loyalty. This was the situation that constituted the foundations of grassroots clientelism, inherently aggressive, whose main direction was towards increasing individual villagers share of resources at the national level. The emergence of aggressive clientelism depended here on the bargaining benets of villagers particularistic co-optation rather than on the bargaining costs of agricultural resource extraction related to statecentralisation initiatives (Gould, 1996). But in the 1980s there was a shift towards a new bureaucratic clientelism (Lyrintzis, 1984) whose grassroots connections were mediated through the party machine, community council, co-operative, farmers union, coffee-shop and various village associations. It was as if the rapid process of democratisation in collaboration with the market-led wider world had pushed villagers onto the stage without them knowing their lines properly and, therefore, they were, in their own minds, unsure of the ways and means. They therefore became clients and ideological subjects of the party line. The brokering of deals and calling of shots never stopped, but slowly changed face. With the restoration of parliamentary democracy, the party became increasingly powerful at the local level, so that by the 1980s, as Damianakos points out aptly (1997: 205), the local leader no longer lls an ofce, but the party grants him an ofce to be lled. Over the 1990s village assemblies, having no rules or specied agenda, all attendees nally disperse on the grounds of constant interruption and inability to present their views (Spiros Konstadinidis, private agronomist, member of a partnership which cultivates 50 ha, owner of 15 ha). This was a world no longer dominated by traditional sanctions or authority to make villagers agree. Thus, grassroots clientelism became just another intermediate stage of Thessalian farmers negotiated subordination to the national state apparatus. While in the old days, villagers took advantage of elite politics for parochial ends as Scott argues (1977: 223), in the golden years of the 1980s, they came to use mass party politics and stronger state institutions for their individual ends. At both these times, every villagers duty was not based on his/her own convictions, but had initially been to the parochial community and afterwards to the governing party. Party factionalism was thereby invigorated and even cohesive villages such as Zobas began to show clear signs of internal differentiation and clientelist division. Village institutions took on the connotations of this trend, as for instance in the separation of the coffee-shops and local farmers unions after 1980 along party lines, a phenomenon that lasted for ten years. The state had come closer to the Thessalian rural clientele, which was, in turn, strengthened. This transformation led to the development of a form of citizenship that was not antithetical to clientelism, but rather transformed the clientelism so that it was compatible with citizenship. At this transitional time, both welfare benets and clientelist connections temporarily exhibited an
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inexhaustible availability at the local level without any need for mutual refutation. This historical conjuncture would not last for long, as Nasos Tatsis, owner of 5 ha and cultivator of 15 ha in Kotsari explained: We would prefer it if the EU was in control. They should have known what happened here with the double weighing (i.e. ctitious production gures) before they imposed the co-responsibility levy whenever production exceeded the guaranteed national quota limit.Their role was not only to give us money.If you throw a piece of meat to the hungry mob,the most predatory animals are fed. This was what happened with EU subsidies in the 1980s. At this time, the political elite itself had already demonstrated a systematic difference in class origin (Pridham, 1990: 186) and marked the entrance of political outsiders, ie left-wingers, such as was the case with Kostas Tasoulas who rst became Kotsaris village president in 1979. Democratisation thus opened the political arena for new contestants who were unwilling or unable to separate themselves from their extended clientelist basis and coffee-shop politics, provided that political participation was now opened up to everybody. This was in contrast to what was the case for the early Thessalian post-war village society without money, when the coffee-shops attracted only the few rich patrons who could afford this sort of individual entertainment. As a 76-year old owner of 12 ha in Zobas explains:In the past only the rich villagers used to go to the coffee-shop. All the rest were gathered in the muck. By the 1980s, coffee-shops became a place of entertainment for everybody, ie they were used by all villagers and thus reected no socio-economic distinction about the ways in which villagers participated in public life. As Antonis Makris, owner of 6 ha in Zobas, grudgingly describes the politics of the coffeeshop: I mean that everybody there can now talk nonsense without thinking about the big picture of the outside world. All people are entitled to an opinion, but the ignorant should be left aside. This political situation is in clear antithesis to what Tasos Matsoukas, an owner of 2.8 ha in Kotsari, colourfully paints as a picture of the pre-dictatorship period: We were afraid of the dynamic villagers. One who was dynamic then, could even thump you during a counter-argument in a gathering. To this extent, intra-village power dynamics had undergone a dramatic transformation. However, there was something ambiguous about investigating this end of village politics from 1996 and carefully unearthing the fact that so many people shared a communitarian narrowness of vision. Continuing in this mindset, many villagers declined the states proposal for voluntary unication of the tiny Greek rural communities (300 inhabitants) into larger municipalities (minimum of 5,000 inhabitants), which became a compulsory administrative reality in 1997 (Law Kapodistria 2539/1997), when villages community life completed a full historical circle (19121996). All these years, it was the state and not civil society . . . in which the social classes had articulated their presence and secured their reproduction (Spourdalakis, 1988: 244). They 364
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would normally be unwilling to give in, yield to political persuasion and resign from their parochial share in state power and administration. The smaller the local government unit, the more accessible it seemed to be in the peasant minds eye. Villagers were still far away from seeing departmental walls between their claims and activities, and as members of a large rural clientele continued to ask for a master key to open all doors for all locales. Until the late 1980s, this key was seen to remain within the community and in the sole hands of a president x of the community council, co-operative, party, association or farmers union who could be directly approached to give a boost to villagers pressing demands for social mobility. The integrative effects of such grassroots clientelism were transitionally under party control, making their imprint on the post-dictatorial rural society, citizen participation and agrarian transformation.

Concluding remarks
In summary, the post-war Greek state apparatus was highly personalised and unable to synchronise divergent group interests in the lowland Thessalian countryside, only being able to harness them under nationalistic rule. During the Dictatorship, the state became more centralised, but paradoxically at local level, its indiscriminate law enforcement emerged as being largely hostile to personalised clientelism, more proactive in dealing with all kinds of intravillage conicts and thus less exclusive. For the rst time, the state was nancially strong, becoming a canvas that covered all aspects of public life. State protectionism, which was launched as part of the Colonels authoritarian patrimony, also dominated in the 1980s but at that time under the mantle of populism and democratisation. The CAP subsidies dealt with lowland Thessalian agriculture as though it was a uniform entity, targeting supposedly undifferentiated agents.The new populist state under the command of a socialist government was responsible for the mediation of these EU subsidies. The government action as supra-local discourse was primarily concerned with the non-privileged majority (Spourdalakis, 1988; Lyrintzis, 1984; 1987; Pantazopoulos, 2001) and the ending of decades of political oppression and persecution, whilst it also brought freedom of speech, communication and movement at the local level. For the rst time, state discourse had made rural concerns its own. To this extent, the populist tendencies of both the Greek military regime and of the socialist party in the 1980s transformed the relationship between farmers and the state, with the result that, increasingly, individual farmers felt able to negotiate their position more directly with less mediation by the local big men. In particular, this paper argues that the new populist discourse and action of the 1980s did not facilitate a direct passage from community to citizenship but instead covered up class distinctions, strengthened parochial and factional interests, and introduced a new sort of grassroots clientelism derived from a
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mixture of democratisation, status equality and individualised competition. Grassroots clientelism paradoxically aided the development of rural citizenship as the state was strengthened.This clientelism,therefore,standardised the states local presence so that individual villagers found room to manoeuvre and even pull strings themselves on a now level political playing eld. At the same time aspirations of social mobility fought against parochial compulsions of material minimalism, apathy and strata dualization. Grassroots clientelism and civil participation were found to be even stronger in Zobas as part of the refugees attempt to speed up their slower progress towards national integration. As far as the implications for the literature of clientelism and its apparent contradiction with the notion of citizenship is concerned, the evidence presented suggests that the route to modernity can be positively associated with a localised expression of particularism which promotes social inclusion and grassroots equality in practice. However, grassroots clientelism as a novel way of achieving active citizenship causes a catch-22 situation as long as it is condemned to remain transitional due to the oxymoron of its empirical application, i.e. one-to-one relationships serving the purpose of rights for all. This assertion echoes Sayers theoretical argument (2000) that many causal interdependencies are unique rather than generalizable, enduring and replicable. In this context, the organic quality of rural citizenship remains transient. However, an aspect of its practice lies here in the effective operation of patron-client relations as an ongoing negotiation of processes of internally differentiated belonging. As Held argues (2004: 387) there is only a historically contingent connection between the principles underpinning citizenship and the national community; as this connection weakens in a world of overlapping communities of fate, the principles of citizenship must be rearticulated and re-entrenched. Amidst this weakening connection, rural citizenship provides a transient narrative for a population segment with territorial loyalties still at odds with the cosmopolitan world. Such rural citizenship is grounded in individual experience and oscillates between: a resource-based view, which refers to the welfare rights of the less advantaged farming, and thus dominated, client-citizens ghting for distributive justice and their exercise of collective political power vis--vis the supra-local state; and a service-based view, which talks about the depoliticised duties of these voluntarily immobile consumer-citizens contributing to the local standard rather than performance of rural-based goods through their land management work. Such conceptualisation can also be seen as corresponding to Evans schematic presentation (1995; 1996; 1999) of the role of the state and its variations: custodial (with rule-making and policing); co-producing (with public goods and services delivery); coherent (with incentive/subsidies provision that results in meritocratic promotion rather than rent-seeking) and cohesive/synergistic (with social ties that connect citizens and public ofcials across the publicprivate divide). Bureaucratically coherent states that are bound to a variety of social groups create an ideal type of developmental state that is characterised 366
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by what Evans calls embedded autonomy and are capable of creating industrial transformation and avoiding rental havens. A call for corporate coherence combined with a dense systematic set of ties to the entrepreneurial class was his solution to the problem of transformational success in industrial structure (from small to big, from unprotable to protable and from circumstantial to planned). The focus of Evans ideas is on what kinds of static bureaucracy, given state institutions and organised patterns of collective behaviour, can be used externally to promote continuous economic growth and the scaling-up of individual social capital opportunities. However, this paper has shown that a dense systematic set of bureaucratic ties to micro-level farming agents, who are replete with partiality, favouritism and incoherence, can instead instigate a conversion in enterprise culture (from negative to positive, from unmerited to unfair and from detached to resistant) that not only succeeds in avoiding farming welfare crises but also constitutes a growth point for pulling off a dynamic bureaucracy accompanied by a self-contained system of rural citizenship belief. As part of such embedded partiality, the new rural citizens are not out of court but, rather, engage in materializing organisational social capital opportunities alongside entrepreneurial bricolage by combining elements at hand for new purposes in their resource-poor environments (Baker and Nelson, 2005: 329). In the latter context, rural citizens aggressively seek to win the methodological support (means) of state bureaucrats who are no longer the universalistic problem setters. This argument is congruent with Greens viewpoint (2008) about partiality in the uses of EU funding not being inevitably related to particular forms of political mediation and development in North-Western Greece. Subsidies were neither drawn nor distributed correctly, but they did evoke an enterprise culture and injected added value that was seen to: supersede the state structures of productivism that spawned them, shape the village repository of common knowledge, create previously unconsidered anxieties (for a rural majority making enterprising decisions for themselves) and force changes in the paternalistic state institution itself. Such embedded partial interactions with the Greek state became the internal driver of institutional change in the sense of pushing many rural citizens, correlated temporarily by individual client-political party dyads, to the forefront of dynamically coordinated bureaucracies. This was an alternative form of rural action to just keep peasants controlled, wary of unidirectional betrayal by patron organisations and segregated from the core decision making process. The emergence of this new form of rural action has also been identied by Papadopoulos and Liarikos (2007: 309) whose analysis of Greek Rural Development Policy Networks as part of Europeanization detected their slowly satised need for a modied set of power arrangements alongside a less evident transformation at the level of policy outcomes. This new rural action set (of civil power arrangements) remains particularistic but also reveals itself to be widespread and dynamically interrelated with the supra-local bureaucracy and no longer centred on single entrepreneurial actors. In the Greek rural space, the states
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embedded coordination role emerges as being a more pervasive (thus transformational) form of civil modernization than coherent coordination (and its isomorphic conguration focus). The effectiveness of the coherent state in shaping civil consciousness might turn out to be exaggerated after all.
University of East Anglia Received 6 May 2009 Finally accepted 22 October 2010

Note
1 Hectare (ha): a metric unit of square mesure, equal to 100 acres (2,471 acres or 10,000 square metres) (abbr.: ha)

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