Denmark: Professionalism in an Egalitarian Political Culture

Torben K. Jensen

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 Denmark: Professionalism in an Egalitarian Political Culture

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Denmark's egalitarian political culture stresses the values of participation, equality, and a strong civil society – traits that may be detrimental to the development of a class of professional politicians. As the chapter shows, this is true: the volatile party system, high turnover rates and diverse career paths provide an unfavourable structure of opportunity for making politics a lifelong career and for developing the coherence to form a political class. However, in several aspects like workload, political experience, specialization or remuneration, Danish MPs are certainly professionals and since the mid-1980s public party financing and expanded staffing for individual MPs and party groups have supported this tendency. At the same time, the political process that led to these reforms has again illustrated the fragmentation and eventually the absence of a coherently acting Danish political class.

Keywords: career paths; Denmark; egalitarianism; party financing; political class; professionalization; turnover

Chapter.  10348 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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