ABSTRACT

Modern democratic politics walks side by side with professionalization (i.e. a process whereby politics is evolving into an occupation). On one hand, democracy requires time: when no income is derived from politics, it is in danger of turning into an oligarchy. On the other hand, attempts to make a steady source of income from politics (Weber 1919) can easily develop into social closure, hence threatening the democracy, as such (Borchert 2008). 1

In line with studies that go as far back as the well-known lecture Politik als Beruf (Weber 1919), in this chapter we discuss those who live not only for but also off politics at the level of kraje , powiaty , judete , županije and other second tiers of local government authorities. We are interested in how much time the representatives who work in politics full time dedicate to county affairs and what factors infl uence whether or not a layperson becomes a political professional. We are working from the assumption that the form and scope of professionalization are important characteristics of the second tier of local government, which is signifi cantly and reciprocally interlinked with the stability or transformation of this level of multi-level government. We pay special attention to the cases of countries where incongruences between the time invested in county politics and a declared (non) full-time status can be found.