Professionalization of Political Campaigns: Roadmap for the Analysis

Keywords: Political campaigns, Professionalization, Process tracing, Party politics


Political parties in developed democracies have undergone deep inner transformation processes brought about by changes in voting behaviour of their electorates, fragmentation of media landscape, and technological revolution. Such changes have caused that the topic of political party transformation has become a central focus of current political science research. However, only a few works have addressed specific aspects of these far-reaching transformations, that is the process of modernisation and professionalization of political campaigns. Specifically, the recent research on professionalization of electoral campaigns has focused primarily on measurement of the index of professionalization, which is suitable for comparative research. Yet deep understanding of the process itself has been still absent, and therefore, this research paper aspires to cover this gap. Main goal of this paper is to offer a roadmap for analysis of professionalization of electoral campaigns with focus on qualitative studies. It represents a causal mechanism of professionalization of electoral campaigns, including the identification of internal and external factors and possible framework conditions that contribute to it (i.e. professionalization), through the process of tracing method (i.e. the causal mechanism is built on the basis of the process tracing method). Here, external factors are defined as environmental conditions, which include declining voter turnout, declining party identification, increasing electoral volatility, and declining interest in political party membership. Although their effect is considered a long-term one, the causal mechanism assumes their influence on the triggering of other processes: external shock (electoral win or loss) and internal shock (change of leader). In the next part of the causal mechanism, subsequent internal processes are expected in the form of changes to the primary goal and organizational structure of parties. Unlike previously published works on this topic, this paper suggests that not only the specific internal and external factors or amount of invested financial resources affect the degree of professionalization, but also the party's market orientation and the level of its internal discipline.


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How to Cite
Ostrá, D. (2021, June 30). Professionalization of Political Campaigns: Roadmap for the Analysis. Slovak Journal of Political Sciences, 21(1). Retrieved from