Patrimonialism: Concept, Meaning and Examples

Patrimonialism: The society is comprised of two categories in which there is one who solely enjoys power in his hands and the other one is bound to follow rules and regulations. For example, in military-ruled countries, the power is in hand of militants and the commoner just follows their rules. This can lead to severe exploitation in private as well as public sector jobs.

patrimonialism meaning

For example, the owner of any industry decides to stop payment for a month period in the name of maintenance can be a hazardous situation for thousands of families. Other examples are the profit shares going into a particular pocket results in unbalancing of an economy of a country.


Max Weber emphasized the larger scale of patriarchy being practiced. For example, the monarchical ruler and church dominance came into the picture. The primitive form of patrimonialism was seen in families where fathers had the major guardian role. At that time the relationship between the father and other members of the family was formal. The fatherly figure was seen as the controlling and decision-maker of the family, on the other hand, other members just followed him.

Weber classified patrimonialism into two type’s viz. Top-Down Structure and Ideal type of Feudalism.

In a Top-Down Structure, the monarchy head enjoys his power by controlling servants and commoners. For example, a kind had several numbers of eunuch and dancers just for his entertainment.

The other type gave power to members outside of the assembly too. For example other than the king, ministers also had some kind of power.

Nathan Quimpo defined patrimonialism as the usage of resources by a single person and it does not matter whether the resources are for private usage or the public one. It can be seen as the major root cause of corruption.

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I am Prerna Jha, pursuing mechanical engineering from KIIT, Odisha, But I Love to Read and Write Sociology Related Concepts and Theories. I have done schooling from MVM School, Bilaspur. I have interest in writing love stories or any specific genre. I pursue a great interest in quilting. Right now I am an aspiring writer who writes for various pages. I have participated in many social events. I am a social animal who likes to have maximum participation in any fest.