During the 2011 uprisings in the Arab world, protesters demanded the ouster of authoritarian forms of rule and an end to the influence of ruling families on politics, society, and the economy. These upheavals revealed that patrimonial power in its diverse forms is still a dynamic force in global politics, able to shape world events. This volume brings the study of patrimonialism back to center stage and presents the concept as a useful tool to analyze how nations, global developments, and international relations are influenced and transformed. Leading scholars show that patrimonial practices, present throughout history, are important features of global capitalist modernity. The authors analyze patrimonial politics in regions throughout the world, including in the United States, Tunisia, Chile, France, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Poland, and Russia. This volume will appeal to students of politics and policy and to a multidisciplinary scholarly audience in political sociology, historical social science, history, and social theory.
Not often enough do scholars think of state formation in China and Europe on parallel levels. That's one of the cases Julia Adams and Liping Wang make in the following interview with Stephanie Marudas. They also discuss the obstacles today's Chinese bureaucratic political structure faces in the rise of social media. Adams and Wang have written an article in the July 2011 volume of The Annals, "Patrimonial Power in the Modern World," about the interlocking patrimonialisms and state formation in Qing China and Early Modern Europe. Adams is one of the volume's special editors, along with Mounira Charrad, and is a professor of sociology and international and area studies at Yale University where she is the sociology department chair and the Joseph C. Fox Director of the Fox International Fellowship Program. Liping Wang is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Chicago. A podcast and transcript of their interview are below.
Stephanie Marudas: Your article in The Annals volume about patrimonial politics in the modern world explores how familial power historically shaped state formation in China and Europe and how central kinship ties were to lasting empires. Julia, take us to China first where the Qing Empire lasted from 1644 to 1911. What was the key to this empire’s success?
Julia Adams: Family household power was crucial in the Qing as it was in early modern European states in many ways, but among them, and this is the particular focus of our article, was territorial integrity of political units or of politics itself. So in the Qing Dynasty, the Manchu conquerers faced a number of challenges. But their overarching challenge was that of securing and expanding their rule. They succeeded at that, which they might not otherwise have done, by figuring out ways to use ruling brothers who were related to one another through lateral relations and also imperial bond servants, who were vertically tied to them in households, in order to hold powerful Chinese bureaucrats in check. At the same time, they learned how to use principles of bureaucracy to restrain the warring brothers who squabbled with one another and, in fact, even killed one another and that also helped keep the state together.
So, what you had was a kind of interlock between patrimonial practices on the one hand and bureaucracy on the other, that developed in a style that was a lot like that of old regime Europe and perhaps particularly like France. And that helped hold together and stabilize power for centuries.
And if I might just make a p.s. to that, just to clarify that lengthy term, patrimonialism, which we use because it is well established in scholarly literature and was made famous by the sociologist Max Weber in the early twentieth century, patrimonialism is just another name for rule based on family households and alliances among them. It was very much centered on male lineages, even if women could be interim rulers. Patrimonial rule was, classically speaking, also patriarchal rule, rule by fathers and forefathers. And we see this in Qing China and in early modern Europe, 1500 – 1800 as well. So that is a capsule summary of the article.
SM: Take us to Europe a bit, in terms of what those early modern European states looked like. Julia, you indicated that they were forming at the same time the Qing was in power. What were some of the dynamics that these European states had? Did they share similar dynamics to what we saw with the Qing?
JA: Yes, they do, which I think is initially surprising because we are not used to thinking of comparing across these spaces but rather making generalizations about European studies on the one hand, Chinese studies on the other. But one of the major things they do share is this uneasy mix of patrimonial and bureaucratic forms. And speaking specifically about rule and family household forms of rule, we see advantages and disadvantages for these states in formation in Europe. On the one hand, these forms of rule can be remarkably deeply founded on forms of the family lineage trusts across generations and also among patriarchal rulers, and that can give these states a lot of capacity as they are building. But at the same time that can create forms of power that become rigid, entrenched, internally combative, and that also happened not just in early modern France but in the eighteenth century Netherlands, England, etc. So these forms of rule have their pros and cons and under some circumstances they can support the politico-economic rise of the state, as they did with Holland in the seventeenth century and England in the eighteenth, and at other points they can be more problematic. But there are a lot of commonalities, a lot of common tendencies.
SM: As you indicated there as well that when we think about Europe we do not necessarily think about China; when we think about China we do not necessarily think about Europe. Is this something that perhaps the community should embrace in thinking about these two areas together or relationally?
JA: Yes, absolutely I think so, and I think Liping does as well. Liping, would you like to speak to that?
Liping Wang: I think to some extent it is the European scholarship [that] might be more internationalized but the China study is still on the way [to] being internationalized. So I think especially if we look at the dominating, like the scenes of China studies we still find scholars are more interested in defining the nature of what the Chinese society is. Like they will ask questions about whether China has its own capitalism, whether China is a totalitarian regime or whether the public feels equally existing in Chinese cities and all these kinds of things. But I think recently there is a kind of tendency to switch away from this paradigm. It is more interesting to compare the substantive historical processes leading both China and Europe to their present forms. I think some part of this attempt is to place China and Europe in the same world historical time, and I think that is also what our paper is about. Our paper compares the episode of early modern China with early modern Europe and we can see that those patrimonial strategies actually facilitated mating the state together in both contexts. And so we agree that it is exactly because China was located in the same world historical time with Europe and that is why they are comparable in many aspects.
SM: Your article is perhaps one of the first steps to help bridge that gap between the Chinese and European scholarship that we see today.
JA: This is raising all sorts of challenges for scholars worldwide right now, I think. It is part of a general process of recomposition of knowledge and a move away from generalizing about single-nation states and reading that back into history, usually inappropriately, and thinking about instead relations among parts of the globe, relations of empire and imperialism and colonialism that long pre-dated the stage of formation of states but of course is interlaced with them. And so this is affecting people who used to study, for example, the United States but now find themselves instead historians and social scientists of the Atlantic world. Or those who study global and transnational processes more generally. So this is a challenge, I think, that all scholars are facing now and it is an incredibly positive one.
SM: Let’s talk about China today and perhaps the legacy of patrimonial politics in China that we saw that started with the Qing. How does that play out today in China?
LW: I think the present Chinese regime is definitely not a complete discontinuity with traditional China. For example we see it in traditional China, which our paper has also touched like the factional conflicts within this state and especially those officials that cultivated their followers in this kind of what they call master-disciple relations from different factions together and in most occasions the patrons will provide protection, benefits, and also promise the promotions of their followers and the followers will also give support needed by the patrons. And I think this kind of relationship still exists today and a couple of political scientists on modern China, they have worked on this topic, even though their definition of what constitutes factional politics is different. For example, some of them may divide factions in contemporary Chinese politics according to the more ideological criteria, like they will divide them into pro-reform, liberalist clique, or the more conservative clique, but some of them might also divide into more generalist elites and those that are more like technocrats. And basically they thought that these different factions, the conflicts between them, were not that negative and to some extent they provide some kind of balance and ensured the stability of Chinese policy in many demands. But to some extent, it also caused the problem of inefficiency. So we definitely see that the patrimonialism perspective is still very useful for us to observe contemporary Chinese politics. But definitely this field is still quite ambiguous, and there are still no definite answers to this. We will wait and see.
SM: When the Qing Empire came to an end in 1911, ten years later the Communist Party came to rule and this year the Communist Party, it is marking ninety years in power. To what degree was communism perhaps a natural succession to the Qing?
JA: Liping’s dissertation, which is ongoing and which I hope she will tell you a little bit more about. It shows how the patrimonial strategies of the sort that we are discussing actually first of all enhanced the bureaucratic apparatus that was inherited by the Han Chinese and that the Chinese Communist Party both benefits and contends with that.
LW: Yes, my dissertation is about ethnicizing the frontier, the Chinese imperial crisis and ethnic formation in Inner Mongolia. In the dissertation, even though it is not exclusively about the ethno-policy of the Chinese party, it touches upon the question and we can definitely see that the Chinese Communist Party has developed its minority policy at a crucial moment, that is after the 1930s when, after The Long March, its power center was transferred from central political provinces to the frontier region located in northern Shaanxi. So it is in this frontier zone that the Communist Party for the first time shed off its Han-dominated identity and recognized the importance of obtaining minority support before it had the opportunity to reenter the center of China. So I think it is from this perspective we can see that between what we study here, about the Qing policy of integrating China and what the Communist Party did in the late 1930s, there is not a discontinuity. There is always this kind of move from the frontier to the Chinese center. If we look at the Chinese Communist Party today we can definitely gain some insights. We observe what the traditional regime did and there is a kind of continuity in their policy.
SM: As we look at China today and what its image is to the rest of the world, it is an economic powerhouse, soon to become the number one economy in the world. And perhaps, what are the keys to that success? Is it the style of governments and the premiere playing the role of a unifier of the country and perhaps in a patriarchal style that we saw previously in China’s history?
LW: The Chinese state, to some extent, it is still quite like a paternalistic state because the population or the people rely on the state a lot, the state-provided welfare programs and also the communication, transportation, infrastructure, buildings. In this sense, it is quite like what we see in the traditional paternalistic state of China. Yes, but there are definitely other new forces and new influences and especially if we look at young people and young students. And I think there is something new.
JA: And if I may add to Liping’s very interesting remarks, I think that the potential instabilities of the situation emerge as much from what we are calling tradition here, or patrimonial tradition, as they do from those new influences and here is another potential connection with European history. The European patrimonial states, based on patriarchal rule, eventually all spurred and developed discourses of opposition from below and those really invented notions that were in the first place familial such as fraternity, that were posed against patriarchy. And that is a common logic and a thrust that we see in all patrimonial powers because the rulers and the ruled are calling on family imagery to legitimate their rule to get things done, to get people on board, and it calls forth alternative family imageries, some of them potentially quite revolutionary. We see this now in the Arab Spring and we could certainly potentially see it emerging in China.
SM: So, part of your scholarship in doing this article for The Annals, perhaps we can think about European history and how it gives us insight to what we see happening in China today.
JA: I think this is definitely one way in which it gives you not an answer in any way on what necessarily will transpire, but certainly it allows you to predict that the very forms of discourse that are so important in legitimating and perpetuating certain kinds of rule also contain and evoke key possibilities of opposition. And that is as true in China as it was in early modern Europe. So it does not tell us what the upshot will be, but it does give you a sense of what will emerge in terms of opposition to forms of patrimonial rule.
SM: Bringing this all together, your article provides us with a history of the Qing Empire and it is helping us think about modern China today, but between the Qing and what we see today, we had Chairman Mao. And if you could talk about the style of governance that he brought to China and how that played out.
JA: I think that is a very important point and question, Stephanie, because we do not want to be read as saying that we can delete the era of Mao and the heyday of Chinese Communism. Just as we would not want to say that Sarkozy follows from Louis XIV. So thank you for posing that question and perhaps Liping would like to respond to that.
LW: Chairman Mao definitely was a very charismatic leader and I think this kind of paternalist charismatic leadership was an important characteristic of the Chinese regime, especially after 1949, which lasted a long time. And I think it is very important, especially for China, to kind of construct all those developments because it provides a very strong center. But I think there is a kind of very subtle change in recent several decades in terms of the leadership and we see definitely the second generation or the third generation or the contemporary Chinese leadership is kind of like drifting away from this very strong, charismatic center. If you read Chinese newspapers today you can definitely see there are kind of different voices rising up and kind of tensions, competitions, and also cooperation between different parts of the central leadership. I think that is an important change away from this very powerful paternalistic and charismatic leadership and some Chinese people will think it is a good sign of the diversity of the leadership and some people will think it is a sign of weakness of the center. But it is important and a fresh change and I think most of us will see something new from this change.
SM: There are censorship issues in China today. It is illegal to use Twitter, for example, but as China and the young people are more and more aware of what is happening outside of China and the desire to be connected, this perhaps could pose a challenge to maintaining bureaucratic control in China.
JA: I think it is bound to pose a challenge. Our article discusses oppositions and connections between bureaucracy and patrimonial strategies, but both of those strategies are built, at least in part, on strongly hierarchical relations. So it is not surprising that they can have a kind of elective affinity for one another. But the proliferating networks, including the electronically mediated networks of the present day, which is an astounding phenomenon, I find, I think can readily undermine both those types of hierarchical relations. How those forms of connection are going to be metabolized by all governments, much less the Chinese, is really a fascinating and important question and it is by no means settled. It is also in some ways genuinely new and I think it is important for us to draw that line with respect to our article as well, which is to say that we are pointing to some re-capitulated dynamics where we have clues in European history to interpret things in Chinese history that have implications for the present day, but there are also moments when genuinely new formations emerge and we want to be alert to those as well. Liping, do you want to add something to this?
LW: Yes, I totally agree with you that this is definitely a challenge for not only China but also worldwide, for many countries. There is a kind of learning process involved in all these things because this is the media kind of challenge, something new, which we definitely will not see in a traditional Chinese regime. But I think it is a learning process on both sides. So it is not just about how [the] Chinese state tries to better or more efficiently inspect the media. It is about how to get dialogue or communication with different people using media to express their voices. This is something that should be learned by the Chinese, not only Chinese government but also by Chinese people. There is a kind of new way of learning how to deal with the states and how to deal with the people.
Tunisia, Morocco, and Iraq have developed their own unique political structures. In the following interview with Stephanie Marudas, Mounira Charrad talks about the factors that contributed to these nation-states' post-colonial development and examines the various elements at play in the Arab Spring- the recent uprisings and revolutions across North Africa and the Middle East that have captivated the world. Mounira Charrad has published an article on state-building at the central and local levels in Tunisia, Morocco and Iraq as part of the July 2011 volume of The Annals, "Patrimonial Power in the Modern World." Charrad is one of the special editors for the volume, along with Julia Adams, and is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. A podcast and transcript of her interview are below.
Stephanie Marudas: In your recent Annals volume article on patrimonial power in the modern world, you write about kin-based power structures within three post-colonial nation states in the Middle East: Tunisia, Morocco, and Iraq. Tell us how you came to write about these three countries.
Mounira Charrad: I did my research before this article on Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. I have been interested in those three countries in what is called Maghreb, another word for North Africa, and I wanted very much to move in the direction of studying Iraq. So in my previous work, I concentrated on questions of state formation in Tunisia and in Morocco from the pre-colonial period all the way to the time of independence and looking at the relationship between kin-based structures and central states. And recently I have looked more and more at Iraq and found all kinds of similarities between the case of Iraq and the case of Tunisia and Morocco.
SM: So let’s start off talking about Tunisia. Tell us about how the Tunisian nation state came to exist through what you call in your article the marginalization of local patrimonial networks, the country unified as one, pretty much eliminating the tribal powers. If you could take us through this.
MC: Tunisia is in many ways a bit different from many other countries in the region of the Middle East and North Africa, the MENA region as most international organizations call it, because of its very long history of centralization and bureaucratization. Tunisia was a nation state earlier than many other countries, certainly earlier than Morocco and Algeria and also Iraq, which is now in the process of constituting a nation state. So Tunisia was always a very interesting country for me to study to see how the state developed. Here was already a more centralized state in Tunisia before the beginning of the colonial period, which started in 1881 and ended in 1952, but already before 1881 there were early reformers in Tunisia. There was more of a sense of nation state. And for reasons having to do with geography as well as history, the kin-based solidarities in the local areas had been weakened early on in Tunisia, as I show in my book States and Women’s Rights. The early reformers did a lot to create a central administration and also they were in constant struggle with the kin-based groups in rural areas. This was a very bloody process; it is not to be imagined as something smooth and peaceful. On the contrary, it was a long process of weakening the kin-based groups but it occurred earlier on in Tunisia. This had further implications both for colonization, the kind of colonial domination that existed, and then what has happened afterwards, after the end of colonialism.
Today, since the uprising in December -January  and the ongoing political debates, Tunisians are very proud of the fact that they had the first constitution in the Arab world and many other things happened first in terms of development of the law and development of policies and legislation that are indicative of a nation state. That is not the same as democracy, definitely not to be confused with democracy, which a lot of people will tend to do, but definitely a more unified country and a more organized state early on with very significant implications for further historical development in the twentieth century.
SM: And again, Tunisia is a first in kicking off the Arab Spring. We now have Tunisia, a country that threw out its longtime president for twenty-three years, and President Ben Ali, his family held various political positions and as a government they had access to a lot of state-controlled resources, and the Tunisian people said, "enough." What happened to the Tunisian people to finally say, "We need a change."
MC: Let me also mention that I am originally from Tunisia, so I share in the pride of the Tunisian people in the uprising and in being the first in doing it. Now, how did all this happen? It certainly was not expected; very few people expected it. There was a sense in Tunisia before the uprising, under the Ben Ali regime, there was a sense that maybe something would happen later on, somehow, some change. It was a sense of uneasiness, obviously. There was a sense that people could not speak. And, at the same time what I kept hearing when I was in Tunisia was that yes, we do not have a democracy but we have a good economy, we have the rise of the middle class, people can feel safe in the streets, the schools are functioning, the government offices are functioning. There was always this discourse about yes, we do not have this but we have that and so things just went on and on and on.
Now, the uprising was a surprise to most people and I think what is really remarkable about the uprising in Tunisia is first of all what it is not, in order for us to think about what it is. The remarkable thing is that there are three things: This is not a replica of Iran by any stretch of the imagination. It is not military, and we can speak about the role of the army in the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution and what the Army did and did not do, that the uprising was not initiated by the Army, nor was it initiated from outside. This was not a foreign power coming in and trying to organize the uprising or trying to interfere with the politics there. So those three things are really remarkable because that was the expectation, that if something happened it would be coming from the Army, that it had a chance of being Islamic fundamentalist, or being forced from outside.
So none of this happened and Tunisia is an example of a social movement that I would say started from below. The term "youth quake" has been used a lot to refer to the Jasmine Revolution. We all know how important the social media were in this. We are learning now more and more that in fact that social movement was sort of growing and organizing itself behind the scene very, very slowly in ways that were not immediately visible. It is also very important that it started with young people and then others joined, that they were able to gain support from critically important groups in Tunisian society. If you look at the pictures of demonstrations you see the young, first of all, and you see men and women, surprisingly enough, or maybe not, not to me anyway, it was not surprising to see women given what I have written about the changes in Tunisia over time, but you also saw lawyers in their black robes, you saw physicians in their white gowns, you saw people from many different social groups in the country. Another very important phenomenon is that the rural areas, or the periphery, the areas that were the least privileged or the poorest in Tunisia, not only participated but actually initiated the uprising. The uprising started in the southwest or the center west of the country where the least developed areas are located.
So it will take a while before we completely understand the process, but for the time being I think that the young people, particularly the people who received an education and could not find a job, in the poorest parts of the country, started a form of protest and then the protest grew to other parts of the country, grew to the cities, grew to other socioeconomic groups to the point where it became a nationwide movement and, very importantly, the Army refused to support the Ben Ali regime. So once the support of the Army was not there, there was very little left for the regime to count on, except the police force. But the fact that the Army refused to shoot the population, that I think was extremely important because we see how critical the role of the Army can be in other places. So once the regime no longer has the support of the Army there is not much that it can do.
SM: Now, leaving Tunisia and going to Morocco, another country that you focused your research on in The Annals article, we look at the power structure there and today how is that power structure holding up [amid] the Arab Spring? And as we know, King Mohammed VI recently had a referendum to the Constitution to open up power to more elected officials yet he is still in charge, ceremonially, but still has power over the military. Some have said that this is perhaps a model that is working for the people, but take us to Morocco - what we know about its past and what is happening now.
MC: Morocco has a different history from Tunisia, even though these countries are in the same region and they share a lot in terms of language, culture, and also the significance of kin-based solidarities in the political history of each one of those countries. One of my theoretical points, which I think has policy relevance as I see it, is that we tend to speak of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa a lot in relation to Islam, at least in the media and the policy world. And that is fine and of course Islam is important--no one can dismiss its importance in the region culturally. However, my theoretical point is that when we look at politics and politics over time, unless we consider the place of kin-based solidarities in each one of those countries, we miss an important point. The question is an open one as to where they stand today, but look at them historically. Think about the fact that people in the history of those societies came together politically on the basis of what they saw as common kinship ties and many different words have been used to refer to that in the literature and by the people themselves. I called them kin-based solidarities because to me what matters is the solidarities part of it and what brings people together. Sometimes people call that clans, people call that lineages, people call that tribal groups, people referred to the Sheiks. If you look at The New York Times over the last four years or so, the term of tribe has come up many, many, many times in relation to Iraq and Afghanistan.
So, to bring us back to Morocco, the history of the country is very different from that of Tunisia insofar as before colonization, which occurred there in 1912 and ended also in 1956, same time as in Tunisia, the kin-based solidarities were very strong. A lot of historians spoke about Morocco as a country divided between a land of government and a land of dissidents. The land of government, called the bled makhzan, and bled siba being the land of dissidence, really meant that there were regions in the country that the government never controlled or controlled only in very partial ways. For example, the sultan might enter into some kind of negotiation with kin-based groups about taxation some of the time but not at other times, and those lines were shifting constantly. We could have a given situation for a couple of years or one year or more and that could change depending on the pattern of alliances and conflicts between the political center and the land of dissidence. Those were not even clearly delineated geographic areas because a given region could be in the land of government at one time or in the land of dissidents another time. But all of this to say that when Morocco was colonized by the French in 1912- the country was one where you did not have a long history of a central state unifying the whole territory. You had those divisions because the land of dissidence was also one in which different groups existed in relative autonomy, different local communities that are called the patrimonial networks.
Now comes colonization. The French did not have all [the] administrative and military resources they might have wished for to control Morocco. So what do they do in Morocco? They use indirect rule. What do they do? They make an alliance with the Sheikhs, they make an alliance with the leaders of those kin-based communities. You know what? They did the same thing as what the British did in Iraq and what happened most recently in Iraq with the U.S. policy there. So these alliances that the French made during pretty much the entire colonial period in fact kept those kin-based solidarities in place. Scholars have used various metaphors to talk about the politics of Morocco during colonization, saying that those local communities were in an icebox, they were in mothballs, all imageries of things really not changing very much.
So, the colonial state in Morocco in fact rigidified a lot of those political structures in rural areas, again, contrary to what a lot of people think; that the colonizer comes and kind of changes everything and everything becomes like it is in France. Well, not so. It did not happen that way- on the contrary. So when independence occurs in 1956, you have a country that is very much divided among communities and the only institution that is able to generate a sense of unity is, in fact, the monarchy. The monarchy which is the same dynasty as the one that existed before independence. And the unifying role of the monarchy, which we could call a patrimonial system, was extremely powerful in Morocco and most Moroccans could share in that. They could accept the monarchy as the unifying institution and symbol of the country, more so than they could accept representatives of cities because the rural areas, the local communities there said, "Uh-uh, no no, we do not want an urban-based Nationalist party to rule over us." And the conflicts were, in fact, quite significant between the Nationalist party and the rural areas with the kin-based solidarities. So in this conflict the monarchy played the role of unifier, of orchestrator among different factions and the image of the monarchy as the unifying principle of Moroccan society is one that has very deep historical roots, going to before colonization and then being strengthened during the colonial period.
Coming into today since 1956, independence from France, much has happened in Morocco and I think it is a good example of the integration of kin-based solidarities, integration of those local communities into a nationwide political system. That has been done through a variety of policies and I think we can say that in the end, you know, ultimately, kind of half a century later, those policies have succeeded in minimizing the fragmentation that could have arisen from the maintenance of kin-based solidarities and has, in fact, succeeded in creating a more unified political entity. At the moment what we see is a monarchy that carries with it a strong symbolism of unity, also a religious symbolism, and that is attempting to make reform instead of being swept away by it. In 2004 the King of Morocco made significant reforms having to do with family law, Islamic law, codes of personal status that have been applauded in Morocco itself, in the Middle East and North Africa, and I think in the world at large, even in the U.S. people spoke a lot about those reforms. Those reforms give greater rights to women and I think they do not go quite as far as the reforms that occurred in Tunisia in 1956, which I discuss in my book States and Women’s Rights, but nevertheless the reforms in Morocco in 2004 were really the first in an Arab country in the twenty-first century and were very important. And I see the reforms that the king is proposing now as continuing on that path. It is a way for the state to address some of the issues that are there and could become more inflamed and we will see where things go.
SM: Bringing this all together, when we think about the Middle East today, North Africa, the directions that they are heading, how will kinship ties perhaps play out going forward? Is it an inevitable piece of the region or for all politics in the modern world as The Annals demonstrates, that patrimonial power is still very much a global phenomena?
MC: I think that first what we tried to show in the volume is that patrimonial power in one form or another, to one extent or another, is part of all power systems or most power systems in the world. So in that way the Middle East is not that different from the rest of the world because I think, again, we tend to emphasize all the differences and the exceptionalism of the Middle East and I am so pleased that this volume, in fact, is showing similarities in patrimonialism throughout the world globally, and we made a real effort to try to cover many regions.
That being said, I think in the Middle East what we see today is that the kin-based solidarities are not disappearing, they take different faces. They operate in different ways, there are many countries where they are not as significant in politics and I think we have got to make a distinction about the kin-based solidarities being activated for political purposes versus not so. And I think if we look at the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution or what happened in Egypt we see solidarities on another basis, on the basis of ideology, on the basis of class. It does not mean that kin-based solidarities are not operating in another sphere, in the sphere of the family, in the sphere of welfare, where people turn to when they have a problem. There are systems of reciprocal obligations where people in the same kin group may help each other not because they love each other necessarily but because they expect that from kin and it is reciprocal. So if you have a system where everybody is expecting pretty much the same thing, then people are more likely to comply than not. There are political movements and situations where the kinship network really has mattered a lot but it is not everywhere.
As we have seen in Afghanistan, it is a different political game and unless the policy world pays attention to how different that political game is, well, there is very little hope. We have to understand what are the forces that enter into the political game in different countries, in different parts of the world, and we cannot just use blanket understandings. And so that is how I see it.