Among leaders and territories: the political networks of the district councillors in Naples

Among leaders and territories: the political networks of the district councillors in Naples This work describes the role of the district councillors of Naples, through an analysis of their relational networks. District councils are the result of the administrative decentralization of the major Italian municipalities. During a 2 year field research study, I gathered 387 semi-structured interviews with the councillors and 35 unstructured interviews with a set of key informants. In order to increase the understanding of the political networks, I have also collected information through direct observation of the councillors meetings and activities. The analysis combines qualitative and quantitative data. At a formal level, district councillors don’t have any actual power, but, in practice, they gain important social capital resources by playing a brokerage role between political patrons and their potential clients. I provide evidence that, on one side, they hold strong ties with the higher level politicians; and, on the other side, they play a fundamental role in taking care of the voters and collecting the electoral consensus. In conclusion, I argue that the district councillors of Naples perform the tasks which were previously carried out by the traditional party organizations, assuming the role of the “new” professionals of grass roots politics. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Among leaders and territories: the political networks of the district councillors in Naples

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2011 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-011-9495-0
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This work describes the role of the district councillors of Naples, through an analysis of their relational networks. District councils are the result of the administrative decentralization of the major Italian municipalities. During a 2 year field research study, I gathered 387 semi-structured interviews with the councillors and 35 unstructured interviews with a set of key informants. In order to increase the understanding of the political networks, I have also collected information through direct observation of the councillors meetings and activities. The analysis combines qualitative and quantitative data. At a formal level, district councillors don’t have any actual power, but, in practice, they gain important social capital resources by playing a brokerage role between political patrons and their potential clients. I provide evidence that, on one side, they hold strong ties with the higher level politicians; and, on the other side, they play a fundamental role in taking care of the voters and collecting the electoral consensus. In conclusion, I argue that the district councillors of Naples perform the tasks which were previously carried out by the traditional party organizations, assuming the role of the “new” professionals of grass roots politics.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Mar 25, 2011

References

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