Separating professionalism from pragmatism: a research note on the study of political parties

  • DeFelice E
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Abstract

Professionalism is not the same as pragmatism and, though they should be kept separate to avoid making the behavior of party leaders appear similar when not, too many studies fail to recognize the difference in the multi-item measures employed. The case is presented for this view in a number of ways. First, it is argued that the distinction can be discerned in the study of parties, and that even some degree of consensus exists on the terms denoting the distinction. Then, after isolating operational definitions for both dimensions, evidence is drawn from precinct committeemen and convention delegates to demonstrate that at the local and national levels of analysis the dimensions yield results that contrast. Finally, in comparing the overall performance of these two concepts in relation to a variety of behavioral characteristics, pragmatism is shown to lack the explanatory power of professionalism.

Author-supplied keywords

  • political parties
  • pragmatism
  • professionalism

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Authors

  • E. Gene DeFelice

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