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Lecture 9

SOCB54H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: W. M. Keck Observatory, Paralegal, Medicare Fraud

Course Code
Julian Tanner

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Lecture 09 Professionalization
How are the professions different from other occupations?
Four hallmark characteristics:
o possession of abstract, specialized knowledge
o autonomy
o Authority : over both clients and other occupational groups
o altruism
Some occupations possess all , or most, of these characteristics. Many others try to
emulate them.
Abstract/Specialised Knowledge:
all jobs require some skill and knowledge: the question is how much
professional jobs require knowledge that only a few have the capacity to acquire
professional knowledge is linked to the well-being of individuals(doctors and medical
knowledge, lawyers and legal knowledge)
Where is this knowledge acquired?
professional schools (U of T’s law school, medical School)
Who monitors and controls the professional schools, and the profession itself?
Professional Associations(e.g. Law Society of Upper Canada, Ontario medical
o They act as gatekeepers, controlling entry to the profession
o All professions require a license (how is this acquired?)
It is illegal to practice without a license for these professions
Ex: medicare fraud - individual who practised without a license of his own
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- ‘Imposters’: what do they tell us about’ rare and esoteric knowledge’?
Cynical view
These ppl don’t get caught due to errors in the work
Someone going through the books & making sure everyone is an
accredited member
Professional associations are sometimes reluctant to accredit new members. Why?
What would the cynic say?
Associations act as gatekeepers
Rationale for using methods to accredit:
Profession claims quality control
Maintaining standards
Only choose the best
More cynical reasons
Prestige - smaller numbers = high prestige
Supply & demand
Best way to charge a high price
Limiting provision
Professional closure
Controlling the market
Huge knowledge imbalance between professionals & regular people
o Lawyers - latin words, arcane jargon
Professional knowledge often creates a gap b/w professionals & their clients
When you go to professionals, you come away thinking theyre smart or youre not
Possession of esoteric knowledge, of which clients don’t have easy access to,
enhances the status of professionals
o Widens the gap b/w them & the ppl theyre serving
Professional dress has a similar effect
o Defer to them
o Hierarchical relationship
o Process of mystification
Pharmacists wearing white coats:
Attempt to emulate the style & demeanour of medical professionals
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