Professional Politicians: Towards a Comparative Perspective

Jens Borchert

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 Professional Politicians: Towards a Comparative Perspective

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If we are to compare professional politicians in different political systems, we need a conceptual tool that enables us to study functionally equivalent structures and patterns of behaviour in vastly different institutional settings. This chapter argues that the concept of ‘political class’ is very much suited for that role. It goes on to look at different levels of political professionalization (individual, office, institutional, systemic). Setting the frame for the country chapters to follow, it outlines the historical pathway to political professionalism, the institutional context, the size of the political class, patterns of recruitment and political careers, the remuneration of politicians, and recent reform debates as the principal issues to be dealt with.

Keywords: career paths; comparative perspective; institutional context; institutional reform; Max Weber; political class; professional politicians; professionalization; structure of opportunity

Chapter.  11841 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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