During the past 10 to 15 years, professionalization has become a catchword for characterizing recent developments in electoral campaigning. The term, however, refers to a concept that was originally developed in the sociology of labor and professions. Professionalization stands for the process through which occupations become professionalized. This process passes through certain stages from specialization, academization, the founding of professional organizations, the introduction of licensing or some other kind of certification, and the development of professional standards. Wilensky emphasizes the relevance of autonomous expertise and the service ideal. Among the classical professions are doctors and lawyers.

When the term was introduced to characterize modern election campaigning, not much was retained from the sociological concept. Instead, professionalization was often used to describe U.S. campaigns and to declare ...

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