Drawing the Boundaries of the Political Field. Incompatibilities and Forms of Political Indignity

Prof. Eric Phélippeau

Since the mid-1980s, integrity policies in many countries have been oriented towards promoting the prevention of conflicts of interest. France itself joined these policies later on. This late turnaround is undoubtedly not unrelated to a well-defined path of public policy, marked by articles 137 et seq. of the electoral code, which, since the French Revolution, have erected a whole series of incompatibilities between the occupation of certain political functions (elective or not) and the exercise of different activities. However, other countries (notably the United States) have undertaken to implement these two options in parallel. The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the sociogenesis of these policies of incompatibilities and the prevention of conflict of interest situations - and the correlative fabric of these categories of 'dignity', 'probity' and 'political integrity' - with a particular focus on those that have helped to gradually draw a line between holding political responsibilities and engaging in private professional activities.