Nathan Gilbert Quimpo

There are basically three prominent theoretical frameworks or interpretations of Philippine politics: the patron-client, factional framework; the elite democracy or patrimonial view; and the neocolonial or dependency analysis.
The patron-client interpretation, which has long been regarded as being the most influential, holds that Philippine politics is “about personal relations and networks linked by kinship, friendship, exchange of favors, influence, and money”. The relationship between patron (politician) and client (voter) is mutually beneficial but unequal. Elite domination is somewhat camouflaged by personalistic ties.
The elite democracy or patrimonial view argues that the Philippine political system, despite having formal democratic institutions, is essentially run by an elite few who use their wealth and power to control the country’s resources, Public office serves as a means for members of the elite to enrich themselves. While acknowledging the persistence of patron-client ties, the patromonial/elite democracy analysis regards intimidation, coercion, and violence as also widespread.
The neocolonial or dependency framework shares much of the elite democracy view but sees the Filipino elite’s power as limited and foreign interests as actually dominating the country.

One thought on “Nathan Gilbert Quimpo

  1. shinichi Post author

    Contested Democracy and the Left in the Philippines after Marcos

    by Nathan Gilbert Quimpo

    When “people power” toppled the dictator Marcos, the Philippines was considered a shining example of the restoration of democracy. Since 1986, however, the Philippines has endured continuing political and social unrest and encountered tremendous obstacles to the consolidation and deepening of democracy. Scholars have called post-Marcos Philippines an “elite democracy,” a “cacique democracy,” or a “patrimonial oligarchic state.” In this volume, Nathan Gilbert Quimpo disputes such characterizations of Philippine politics and puts forward an alternative interpretation-contested democracy. He argues that the deepening of democracy in the country involves the transformation of an elite-dominated formal democracy into a participatory and egalitarian one. He focuses on emergent, democratically oriented, leftist parties and groups that seek to transform the formal democracy of the Philippines into a more substantial one and shows the difficulties they have encountered in fighting patronage politics. The complexity of the process to deepen democracy in the Philippines becomes evident from Quimpo’s exploration of competing notions of democracy, contending versions of the “civil society argument,” and contending perspectives in governance.


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