Hierarchy and Trust in Modern Mexico and Brazil

By Luis Roniger | Go to book overview

bought drinks with it. By administering his money, giving him only a bit each time, I can control him better."

That evening, the three of us met again in one of Rio's coffee shops. And, indeed, José confessed that the first thousand cruzeiros were already gone; he had bought drinks. David reprimanded his friend. We began talking about his life in the favela, about his drunkard father who had abandoned his mother, the various jobs he had worked on from early infancy, how he had been exploited at work, about his venereal diseases and the various remedies for them and, finally, about his having become a painter without having followed any formal art studies. It was only recently that David had met José and begun to help him because he appreciated José's natural talent.

The conversation continued as follows:

J.L.: Yes, but with talent alone nothing can be done. If it were not for somebody like David, I would probably still be stuck in the mud, in the favela. . . . David is going to arrange an art exhibition for me.

D.M.: That's true. I know a brigadier who is a close associate of the president of the "XXX" Military club, and we shall ask if we can use its premises for the exhibit. That will be the gateway to recognition. But (to José) you must work hard.

J.L.: Yes, with the money from this showing I shall buy canvas and paints and shall begin to work.

D.M.: And forget about drinking. Otherwise, you know . . . you won't be able to move forward. And, remember, if you fail it is not to you that people will come to complain but to me . . . (And, facing me, David commented in a tone of comradeship)--"Tenho um filho grande" (I have a grown-up child).

L.R.: What is your interest in helping him?

D.M.: First of all, he deserves it. You have heard how he has struggled. And, he has talent. In the second place, if he lives up to my expectations and becomes famous, his padrinho (meaning David himself) will also gain some "credit." And if the paintings are sold, I shall also get something from it, 30 percent for example . . .

J.L. (intervening): No! you must get 50 percent or more of the selling price, since I would have attained nothing without you. (Here a discussion ensued on the percentage to accrue to each one).

(Based on my fieldnotes, November 1981)

In this book I shall describe, analyze and compare such bonds of dependence and control, labeled in the literature of the social sciences as patron- client or clientelistic relationships. In describing clientelism as a major model of structuring social exchange in Mexico and Brazil, I have not intended to write a complete social history of either of these nations. Nor have

-xii-

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Hierarchy and Trust in Modern Mexico and Brazil
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures ix
  • Preface xi
  • Chapter 1 Clientelism and Trust 1
  • Notes 19
  • Chapter 2 Hierarchy and Clientelism in Latin America 21
  • Notes 33
  • Chapter 3 the Institutional Context of Mexico and Brazil 35
  • Notes 54
  • Chapter 4 Clientelism in Mexico 57
  • Notes 93
  • Chapter 5 Clientelism in Brazil 97
  • Notes 141
  • Chapter 6 Cross-National Comparison of Mexican and Brazilian Clientelism 145
  • Notes 156
  • Chapter 7 Multi-Dimensional Comparison of Network Variability 159
  • Notes 177
  • Chapter 8 Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Mexican and Brazilian Clientelism 179
  • Conclusion 197
  • Notes 199
  • Bibliography 203
  • Index 233
  • About the Author 237
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