An analysis of andrew abbotts book the system of professions

Examples of professions that are considered by Abbott and Zald include psychiatrists, social workers, accountants, physicians, professors, and pharmacists. And I suppose we might extend the list quite a bit, to include journalists, lawyers, real estate agents, university presidents, property assessors, architects, clergy, and engineers. But what about more borderline examples:

An analysis of andrew abbotts book the system of professions

As the titles indicate, Zald's interests cross over between professions and organizations; but the two are plainly linked. Examples of professions that are considered by Abbott and Zald include psychiatrists, social workers, accountants, physicians, professors, and pharmacists.

And I suppose we might extend the list quite a bit, to include journalists, lawyers, real estate agents, university presidents, property assessors, architects, clergy, and engineers.

But what about more borderline examples: And how about corporate executives, bankers, skilled pickpockets, and pirates?

We know what a professional opera singer is: But is an opera singer a "professional" in the relevant sense?

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What is a "professional", anyway? What are the relationships among profession, occupation, skill, expertise, income, work, prestige, and credential?

And how is this a sociological question? As the examples suggest, there are several dimensions of qualification that we might intuitively consider to define the concept of "professional". Is it a person who has had formal training in a high-prestige type of work?

Is it a person who is credentialed by a recognized credentialing agency? Or is it a person who is a member of an organization of people doing the same kind of work?

We might suppose that the concept of "professional" is an overlap concept that involves the intersection of skill, knowledge, credential, association, and prestige -- with the implication that there are members of society who have several of these features but not others, and are therefore not regarded as "professionals".

An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor

Notice that these are all conceptual questions; they have to do with how we choose to define a certain category of social action and actor. Here we have quite a bit of choice -- though we want our definition of "professional" to have some relationship to ordinary usage.

This brings the idea of the social construction of social categories into play; for example, does it make sense to imagine that "bare-foot doctors" constituted a profession in revolutionary China, given the strong ideology of egalitarianism that was present?

The Summary and Findings of Andrew Abbott's "The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour" on Professions. Andrew Abbott’s book, The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour contains a mix of comparative historical analysis and current evaluation, which is assembled within an analytical model that looks at professions from the viewpoint of their jurisdictions, the tasks they do, the expert knowledge needed for those tasks. Read "The System of Professions An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor" by Andrew Abbott with Rakuten Kobo. In The System of Professions Andrew Abbott explores central questions about the role of professions in modern life: Why.

Presumably bare-foot doctors were regarded as "workers", not professionals. Once we have clarified the concept -- that is, once we have delineated the domain of social behavior and action that falls under the concept of "the professions" -- we can then do specific empirical work.

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The empirical work falls in many areas, and much of it depends on detailed studies of historical cases. We can examine the training and schooling that is customarily associated with the profession of pharmacy or accounting at a particular point in time; we can trace out the multiple professional organizations and associations that existed for pharmacists or accountants in the s; we can examine in detail the processes involved in accreditation and credentialing for the profession at a certain time; and we can observe the rising and falling fortunes of the professions over time, as they compete for space in the ecology of an existing social system.

Abbott gives a lot of attention, for example, to the struggle between social workers and psychiatrists over the right to treat mentally ill patients. The topic of training regimes and professional associations is particularly accessible to empirical study; the sociologist can dig into archives and discover quite a bit of concrete detail about the ways in which accountants or physicians were trained in and the ways in which they were credentialed by the relevant professional organizations.

An analysis of andrew abbotts book the system of professions

They can consider the processes by which a segment of the skilled work force becomes "professionalized. This is the jurisdictional question that is central in many studies of the professions.

Abbott's conceptual approach is signaled by the subtitle of his book: Any occupation can obtain licensure e. But only a knowledge system governed by abstractions can redefine its problems and tasks, defend them from interlopers, and seize new problems--as medicine has recently seized alcoholism, mental illness, hyperactivity in children, obesity, and numerous other things.

An analysis of andrew abbotts book the system of professions

Abstraction enables survival in the competitive system of professions" Expertise is an expression of abstract knowledge; and the possession of knowledge-based expertise is the result of formal training and the foundation of licensure. For Abbott, then, the sociology of the professions needs to focus on the systems through which the relevant forms of abstract knowledge are created; the educational systems through which pre-professionals acquire this knowledge; and the professional associations that oversee both education and current practice through their power of licensure.

These associations turn out to be potent social actors: This is the competitive part of the story mentioned above. The other central sociological question that comes up in Abbott's treatment is the organizational one: This takes us into consideration of hospitals, law firms, banks, and universities, and the intricate pathways of development through which each of these organizational forms have developed in the past century.

This is also a point of contact with Zald's careful work on organizations such as the YMCA and social-service organizations. I've dwelled on this precinct of sociology because it is one of the areas of sociological research that involves a fascinating mix of objective, case-based research and somewhat ephemeral social entities -- the profession of accountancy, the profession of medicine.

These are social "things" in some sense -- but they are highly abstract entities involving a constant change of personnel, standards, curricula, bodies of knowledge and expertise, and zones of jurisdiction. As such, the study of professions seems to well illustrate a point that seems fundamental to me: The beauty of Abbott's work is his ability to give some definition to a reality that he fully recognizes to be in flux.Andrew Delano Abbott is an American sociologist and social theorist working at the University of Chicago.

His research topics range from occupations and professions to the philosophy of methods, the history of academic disciplines, to the sociology of knowledge.

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He was the editor of the American Journal of Sociology from to Blossfeld, Hans-Peter, “Is the German Dual System a Model for a Modern Vocational Training System?”, International Journal of Comparative Sociology 33, pp. , Boltanski, Luc. The Making of a Class: Cadres in French Society, Trans.

Arthur Goldhammer, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, []. The Summary and Findings of Andrew Abbott's "The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour" on Professions. Critique Of Andrew Abbott Part A: Summary Introduction: Andrew Abbotts book, The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour contains a mix of comparative historical analysis and current evaluation, which is assembled within an analytical model that looks at professions from the viewpoint of their jurisdictions, the tasks.

Read The System of Professions by Andrew Abbott by Andrew Abbott by Andrew Abbott for free with a 30 day free trial. Read eBook on the web, iPad, iPhone and Android/5(11). Andrew Abbott’s book, The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour contains a mix of comparative historical analysis and current evaluation, which is assembled within an analytical model that looks at professions from the viewpoint of their jurisdictions, the tasks they do, the expert knowledge needed for those tasks.

The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labor, Abbott