Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952613 | Print ISBN: 9781412905794 | Online ISBN: 9781412952613| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Johannes Iemke Bakker
Patrimonialism is a term used to designate a form of political organization. It is more often used in the Latin-based languages (e.g., French, Italian) than in English. The key focus in the model is the extent to which legitimate authority is based primarily on personal power exercised by the ruler, either directly or indirectly. The ruler may act alone or as a member of a powerful elite group or oligarchy. The ruler is not viewed as a tyrant. The structure of the Roman Catholic Church today is still patrimonial. Direct rule involves the ruler and a few key members of the ruler's household or staff maintaining personal control over every aspect of governance. If rule is indirect, there may be an intellectual or moral elite of priests or office holders as well as a military. The priestly group may invoke deity for the leader. The king, sultan, maharaja or other ...