The Nature of the Professions. A Sociological Analysis of Professional Power, Socialisation and Ideologies.

Joseph, Martin (1977). The Nature of the Professions. A Sociological Analysis of Professional Power, Socialisation and Ideologies. The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000fc98

Abstract

This dissertation analyses professional power (both in society and within professional institutions), the nature of professional socialisation, and professional ideologies.

Although professions appear to have little real direct political power, they exert effective pressure on governments in areas of corporate concern and will act as pressure groups to maintain their quasi monopoly position and protect the status of their expertise. Professionals also exert influence over their clients, beyond that required for effective fulfilment of their services. Despite increasing bureaucratisation, professions are largely able to maintain their power through the deference granted to their expertise, and influence over the socialisation of their members.

Control over membership is the prerequisite for mobilising power. Professions control their members firstly by vetting their status, which nowadays is largely achieved by means of entrance qualifications and practical experience. Control over professionals is achieved partly by elite domination of positions in professional associations, and partly by peer group control. Conformity to professional values and practice is thereby obtained.

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