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Lecture 2

SOC 355 Lecture 2: Lecture 2
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5 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC355H5
Professor
Ronit Dinovitzer

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Description
Lecture 2 Expertise • Its what defines a profession • Professions are knowledge based occupation • They are claiming a particular knowledge that regular people don’t have access to • This knowledge that they have is formalized – need to share it with other who want to become like you (replicate it) • Use abstract principles to solve real problems Abstract Knowledge • It is what professionals fight over when they claim they are professionals • Some one wins out in the end • It’s the fighting over abstract knowledge that sets professionals different from occupations • Need to have a knowledge system that is governed by abstractions • You see ex in medicine and law • You have obesity and alcoholism etc. med prof trying to take over • Actual task of a profession are human problems • They deal with concrete problems • We need to agree – they need to sell to us that they are professionals who can solve our problems • They work hard to do it • Diagnose, infer and treat – characteristics of what a professional does Knowledge and social closure • You have to fight other away from knowledge and state your claim over it – do it by a process called social closure • It is the way in which professionals maintain their status and knowledge • State has to give profession the authority to regulate itself • They fought for it and the state gave them this power • Knowledge of a prof is one that is certified and credentialed • State level social closure over expertise – it gives them ability to own that knowledge (medical knowledge = doctors) Suicide and Medical examiners • How is it that suicides are under reported • We know that there’s potentially different reasons why suicide is underreported • Need to understand expertise and authority for answer • Med examiners protect their authority conservatively • Death investigators have authority over suicide determinations • In Canada, it is coroners • Coroners are doctors • They are not necessarily pathologists • Med exam are physicians and they are also pathologists • They are trained forensic pathologist – they determine the cause of death • They are doctors, not police • They have different expert knowledge • They are trained as doctors, not just in crime and law • They have different set of priorities • They have working knowledge of the crime scene • They don’t rely on expert witnesses – they are scientists at heart • Science is very important to them • Need to know that injury was self inflicted and intentional • They infer intent from different sources • They work inductively • There is no check list for suicide determination • It’s a decision they reach after mining all evidence – 51% rule = you need to be over the threshold (more than positive) to determine suicide • Hard evidence is misleading (suicide notes) • They explain that they ultimate criteria is whether an examiner can be more than positive – uncertainty = science wins • Professionalism helps explain things like suicide determination • They are also oriented towards law as well as science • Their allegiance is to science and law not policing Expertise and Interpretation • The influence of relatives in this case is important • Cases where med exam even had evidence to call something a suicide due to stigma and family pressure • Other influences also need to be taken into consideration = not just science Epistemology • Public health officials have often thought that single vehicle accidents are suicides • But not reported so • Pathologists argue not • We are not able to prove them as suicide scientifically • Their frame work is a particular medical legal stand work – they don’t care about prevention • Their role is medical legal • Social Epi = public role • They have different priorities and different standards • EM act conservative because they have to protect their authority • Expertise of med prof is questioned by many • At the
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