Parties, promiscuity and politicisation: business-political networks in Poland
McMenamin, Iain (2004) Parties, promiscuity and politicisation: business-political networks in Poland. European Journal of Political Research, 43 (4). pp. 657-676. ISSN 0304-4130
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Research on post-communist political economy has begun to focus on the interface between business and politics. It is widely agreed that informal networks rather than business associations dominate this interface, but there has been very little systematic research in this area. The literature tends to assume that a politicised economy entails business-political networks that are structured by parties. Theoretically, this article distinguishes politicisation from party politicisation and argues that the two are unlikely to be found together in a post-communist context. Empirically, elite survey data and qualitative interviews are used to explore networks of businesspeople and politicians in Poland. Substantial evidence is found against the popular idea that Polish politicians have business clienteles clearly separated from each other according to party loyalties. Instead, it is argued that these politicians and businesspeople are promiscuous. Since there seems to be little that is unusual about the Polish case, this conclusion has theoretical, methodological, substantive and policy implications for other post-communist countries.
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