Politicians and professionalization in the Pacific Islands: revisiting self-regulation?

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In this article, I examine the nature of political practice in the Pacific Islands against two dominant measures of professionalization: incentive and institutionalist. Drawing from a range of qualitative data-interviews with politicians, published life histories, and observation-from across the region, I find that professionalization is largely unapparent against these measures. However, despite the likelihood that this absence will continue, the professional politician continues to be a standard against which political leadership in the Pacific is assessed, and thus poses a significant problem for would-be-reformers. In response to this dilemma, I find that the older idea of self-regulating professional ethics, usually disregarded by proponents of these newer and more managerial measures, has more to offer than might first appear.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-876
Number of pages25
JournalPolitics & Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Comparative Politics
  • Democracy
  • Democratization
  • Governance
  • Melanesia
  • Micronesia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Polynesia
  • Public Administration
  • Self-Regulation

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