The influence of group loyalty on democratic transit in non-Western societies

The influence of group loyalty on democratic transit in non-Western societies

Grafov D.B.,

Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia,

elibrary_id: 816320 | ORCID: 0000-0002-7334-5398 |

Article received: 2020.11.17 17:31. Accepted: 2021.07.02 17:32
DOI: 10.17976/jpps/2022.04.11

For citation:

Grafov D.B. The influence of group loyalty on democratic transit in non-Western societies. – Polis. Political Studies. 2022. No. 4. P. 134-147. (In Russ.).


This paper proposes a systems-theoretical approach to the role of guanxi-based, amakudari-based and other traditional practices, founded on group loyalty and supervisor–subordinate relationships, in making transitions from authoritarian rule. There are a lot of examples of unsuccessful transitions in Orient and non-Western cultures and of the degradation of new democracies in Eastern-European and Asian States. Many hybrid or semi-democracies fall short in the provision of public services or the protection of economic or human rights. Younger democracies are more corrupt, exhibit less rule of law, uncompetitive elections, uncontrolled bureaucracy, shrinked individual freedoms and may slide to authoritarianism through populism. And there are also the well-known problems of collective and civil actions to provide collective goods. In non-Western States collective action adheres to traditions and indigenous forms of group loyalty. The traditional ways for realizing individual interests are based on patron-client relations in these societies. And from this point of view such relations appear to be the most reliable way of satisfying individual interests of gaining advantages from Power than fighting for common goods and civil values through the transition to a more democratic regime, including substantive political changes moving towards a fair distribution of common goods. The goal of the author is to identify the dependence of the changing behavior of individuals to components of engagement in patron-client relations. Traditional patron-client (superior–subordinate) relations as a structuring social exchange are based on some variables, such as benefits\contributions, loyalty, reciprocity, personal commitment, obligation, subordinate, collectivism, personal-life inclusion etc. The model helps to explain what variables change someone’s behavior from seeking civil values and common goods to prioritising individual or groups’ benefits relating to the patron-client relationships in non-Western cultures. 

transition, group loyalty, guanxi, jinmyaku, amakudari, wasta, clientelism.


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Content No. 4, 2022

See also:

Shestopal A.V.,
The Path to Democracy: Brazilian Experience. – Polis. Political Studies. 2009. No4

Afanasyev M.N.,
Clientelism: an Outline Historico-Sociological Account. – Polis. Political Studies. 1996. No6

Afanasyev M.N.,
Clientelism: an Outline Historico-Sociological Account (II). – Polis. Political Studies. 1997. No1

Sirotkina E.V., Karandashova S.A.,
Loyalty of Elites and Gubernatorial Elections: the Role of Pre-electoral Conflicts in the Voting Outcome. – Polis. Political Studies. 2017. No6

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New Russian Corporatism: Democratic or Bureaucratic?. – Polis. Political Studies. 1997. No2



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