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The Political Class in Advanced DemocraciesA Comparative Handbook$
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Jens Borchert and Jürgen Zeiss

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199260362

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0199260362.001.0001

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Denmark: Professionalism in an Egalitarian Political Culture

Denmark: Professionalism in an Egalitarian Political Culture

(p.84) 5 Denmark: Professionalism in an Egalitarian Political Culture
The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Torben K. Jensen

Oxford University Press

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

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