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ChapterFourteen - Work and Industry.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2169

Sociology – Work and Industry – Chapter Fourteen – Professional Work  “professional” applied to a limited amount of jobs distinguished by their social prestige, privileges, knowledge, and skill  Meaning is becoming diluted  2001 – 14% of Canadians worked in these jobs Basic History  Arose in the late 19 century  Prior to Confederation – medical doctors, lawyers, and clergymen claimed to be professionals o Elite, educated men who used their knowledge and training to advise and assist others o Clergymen – interacted regularly with the general public, providing spiritual guidance, and instruction o Lawyers and medical doctors – provide services to the elite, but are rarely patronized by the general public  Numbers expanded after Confederation  Government passed a legislation o Legislation was believed to recognize their unique skills and knowledge and grant them prestige What is a profession?  A profession – a particular form of occupation, distinguished by its organizations (the formation of professional societies that work in the occupation’s interest), social status, and educational/knowledge requirements Characteristics  Existence of professional associations, advanced training and education, an esoteric knowledge base, a service orientation, and a code of ethics  Describe occupations that are regarded as professional  Doctors, engineers, and lawyers have their own organizations o Require many years of education and training o Possess theoretical and practical knowledge  Groups are guided by commitment to serving others, and all practitioners must follow a code of ethics  FLAW: professional groups want to display to the world that they are an education, intelligent, group of workers with rare knowledge and skills dedicated to the public good  Substantial social influence and authority is overlooked  Doesn’t mean that having these traits will make you have professional status Power  Occupations with social influence  Shape people’s life experiences – shape experiences of life and death as well as our health and well-being  Have influence over their own work and over others who interact with them  Friedson and Johnson – professions are best defined through the ability of practitioners to control their occupation, their work, and the labour of those who work with them  Can shape the market for their expert service s  Foucault – professional knowledge and expertise are both a source and a product of power in modern society  Can use positions to obtain knowledge about us  Professions have both social privileges and a cultural influence that grants them power over individuals and society o Have special privileges  Codes of ethics are established to ensure that professionals do not abuse this power  Those occupations with power more professional than those with less? o Social changes are reducing the power exercised by individual professionals  While power is central to professions, it is only one aspect Government Recognition  Professions are occupations regulated by government legislation that grants practitioners certain rights, responsibilities, and privileges  Possess both social esteem and that governments have recognized their possession of expertise through legislation  Since 19 century, provincial governments have passed legislation that grants practitioners the exclusive right to perform some work tasks and professional bodies the right to establish educational standards that determine who can practice the profession  Regulated Health Professions Act – governs health professions in Ontario, covers 23 occupations and outlines which regulated acts each is allowed to perform  Some groups have lobbied to receive government legislation that still recognizes the ability of an organized group of workers to confer professional credentials o Ex. you cannot claim to be a CA or ISP without having the certified credential  Government legislations defines which groups have special privileges  Problems: o Government legislation covers other occupations that are not socially esteemed, recognized, or regarded as being fully professional o Some regarded as professional are not covered by legislation A “Folk Concept”  Freidson – we treat profession as a historically changing definition (folk concept) o Useful to explore, in social-historical context, how people determine who is professional and who is not, how they ‘make’ or ‘accomplish’ professions by their activities, and what the consequences are for they way in which they see themselves and perform their work  The meaning of profession alters in each society at every point in time o Ex. what is professional today may not have been 25 years ago, and is not generalizable to other countries  “profession” – is socially valued ad can carry social, economic, and political awards o Application to specific occupations has been a matter of social activity, conflict, and debate  How occupations can be defined as professions  No concrete measure of what a profession is  Power is an important element in defining a profession o Although: the extent to which professions wield power may not be consistent across place and time  Folk concept says that profession is not a ‘fixed concept,’ but a changing one, and exactly is a profession has changed overtime  Professions are characterized by a great deal of skill and education, social organization, and a privileged place in society o Occupations that have social esteem and a generally high income How Occupations Become Professions  Professionalization – process through which an occupation acquires the characteristics and status of a profession  Social closure theory – hold that occupational groups achieve professional status by closing off access to opportunities, knowledge, education, and practice opportunities by drawing on a variety of status criteria o Form organizations and restrict membership to a limited number of practitioners and seek additional means to limit the opportunities of those outside these organizations to practice o School, formal training, credentials, and seeking government legislation  Educational credentials are the principle mechanisms through which entry to practice is controlled: only those with the appropriate degree from an accredited institution may practice o Historically restricted to White men o High fees and education standards limited access of working-class individuals to many professions o Much social closure, higher social status  more lengthy and difficult requirements o Lower status, less social closure  not extensive requirements o Describes a process... o Organized professional groups engaged in social movements and campaigns to convince the public and the government that they provide valuable services and have rare and important skills  Canada – first professions were medicine and law o Followed by dentists, homeopaths, and pharmacists  Self-regulation – the ability to govern themselves by passing bylaws to establish entrance, examination, and education requirements and set standards for the conduct of professional practice o Helped achieve social status  By established high educational credentials that reduced the number of people entering the field, it provided more training for new recruits o Showed that the work required skill, knowledge, and expertise  Professionals gained more status and became respected after their campaigned undermined others and showed the public that they were more knowledgeable  Social trthds aidethprofessionals’ efforts to extent their influence o 19 and 20 century – respect for science o Professional groups garnered further legitimacy as they succeeded in establishing education and training programs in universities o Support of elite groups in society aided their efforts o Professionalizing groups attempted to raise their status and social authority by limiting professional membership to people who carried authority and status by virtue of their gender, race, and class  Limit practice to high-status people  Organizational campaigns and social closure – key elements in professionalization  Professionalizing gro
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