Neo-Weberianism and the Professions


Saks М.

Prof. Emeritus, University of Suffolk, UK; Visiting Prof. at the University of Lincoln, the Royal Veterinary College, University of London and the University of Westminster, UK, University of Toronto, Canada m.saks@uos.ac.uk

DOI: 10.31857/S013216250009646-3
ID of the Article:


For citation:

Saks М. Neo-Weberianism and the Professions. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2020. No 6. P. 28-41




Abstract

This article argues for the importance of a neo-Weberian perspective on professions. It begins by highlighting the significance of professions in the rapidly changing modern context. Much of the theoretical literature on their nature and role derives from Britain and the United States, but its relevance is now widening – not least in Europe and beyond. In terms of theories of the professions, the starting point was the 1950s/60s deferential trait and functionalist perspective on professions that took professional ideologies on trust. This taxonomic perspective was largely supplanted by symbolic interactionism and more critical theoretical approaches associated with the 1960s/70s counter culture, including Marxist, Foucauldian and discourse analyses. A brief examination of these approaches highlights the merits of a neo-Weberian approach to the professions in the contemporary context. The various contours of this market-based approach centred on exclusionary social closure deriving from the original work of Max Weber are outlined. This is followed by illustrations of how it has been applied and an examination of its own potential weaknesses – as well as the direction that future work may fruitfully take within the neo-Weberian perspective.


Keywords
exclusionary social closure; Max Weber; neo-Weberianism; professions; social theory

References

Abbott A. (1988) The System of Professions: An Essay on the Division of Expert Labour. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Adams T. (2015) Sociology of Professions: International Divergencies and Research Directions. Work, Employment and Society. Vol. 29. No. 1: 154–165.

Adamson M., Manson S., Zakaria I. (2015) Executive Remuneration Consultancy in the UK: Exploring a Professional Project through the Lens of Institutional Work. Journal of Professions and Organization. Vol. 2. No. 1: 19–37.

Allsop J., Jones K. (2008) Protecting Patients: International Trends in Medical Governance. In: Kuhlmann E., Saks M. (eds) Rethinking Professional Governance: International Directions in Health Care. Bristol: Policy Press: 15–27.

Allsop J., Jones K. (2018) Regulating the Regulators: The Rise of the United Kingdom Professional Standards Authority. In: Chamberlain J.M., Dent M., Saks M. (eds) Professional Health Regulation in the Public Interest: International Perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press: 93–116.

Barber B. (1963) Some Problems in the Sociology of Professions. Daedalus. Vol. 92. No. 4: 669–688.

Beattie A. (1995) War and Peace among the Health Tribes. In: Soothill K., Mackay L., Webb C. (eds) Interprofessional Relations in Health Care. London: Edward Arnold: 11–30.

Becker H. (1962) The Nature of a Profession. In: Education for the Professions. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press: 27–46.

Bell D. (1976) The Coming of Post-industrial Society. New York: Basic Books.

Berlant J.L. (1975) Profession and Monopoly: A Study of Medicine in the United States and Great Britain. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Bolton S., Muzio D. (2008) The Paradoxical Processes of Feminization in the Professions: The Case of Established, Aspiring and Semi-professions. Work, Employment and Society. Vol. 22. No. 2: 281–299.

Borsay A., Hunter B. (eds) (2012) Nursing and Midwifery in Britain Since 1700. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Braverman H. (1998) Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century. New edition. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Brock D.M., Leblebici H., Muzio D. (2014) Understanding Professionals and their Workplaces: The Mission of the Journal of Professions and Organization. Journal of Professions and Organization. Vol. 1. No. 1: 1–15.

Burrage M. (2006) Revolution and the Making of the Contemporary Legal Profession: England, France and the United States. New York: Oxford University Press.

Cant S., Sharma U. (1996) Demarcation and Transformation within Homoeopathic Knowledge: A Strategy of Professionalization. Social Science and Medicine. Vol. 42. No. 4: 579–588.

Carchedi G. (1977) On the Economic Identification of Social Classes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Carvahlo T. (2014) Changing Connections between Professionalism and Managerialism: A Case Study of Nursing in Portugal. Journal of Professions and Organization. Vol. 1. No. 2: 176–190.

Carvalho T., Santiago R. (eds) (2015) Professionalism, Managerialism and Reform in Higher Education and the Health Services. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Collins D., Dewing I., Russell P. (2009) The Actuary as a Fallen Hero: On the Reform of a Profession. Work, Employment and Society. Vol. 3. No. 2: 249–266.

Collins R. (1990) Market Closure and the Conflict Theory of the Professions. In: Burrage M., Torstendahl R. (eds) Professions in Theory and History: Rethinking the Study of the Professions. London: Sage: 24–43.

Cook L. (2007) Postcommunist Welfare States: Reform Politics in Russia and Eastern Europe. New York: Cornell University Press.

Ehrenreich B., Ehrenreich J. (1979) The Professional-Managerial Class. In: Walker P. (ed.) Between Capital and Labour. Brighton: Harvester Press: 5–45.

Etzioni A. (ed.) (1969) The Semi-professions and their Organization. New York: Free Press.

Evetts J. (1998) Professional Identity, Diversity and Segmentation: The Case of Engineering. In: Olgiati V., Orzack L., Saks M. (eds) Professions, Identity and Order in Comparative Perspective. Onati: Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law: 57–70.

Evetts J. (2013) Professionalism: Value and Ideology. Current Sociology. Vol. 61. No. 5/6: 778–796.

Evetts J. (2000) Professions in European and UK Markets: The European Professional Federations. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. Vol. 20. Iss. 11/12: 1–30. DOI: 10.1108/01443330010789250.

Evetts J. (2003) Reinterpreting Professionalism: As Discourse of Social Control and Occupational Change. In: Svensson L., Evetts J. (eds) Conceptual and Comparative Studies of Continental and Anglo-American Professions. Göteborg: Göteborg University: 21–34.

Evetts J. (2006) Short Note: The Sociology of Professional Groups. Current Sociology. Vol. 54. No. 1: 133–143.

Faulconbridge J., Muzio D. (2008) Organizational Professionalism in Globalizing Law Firms. Work, Employment and Society. Vol. 22. No. 1: 7–25.

Flood J. (2018) Professions and Professional Service Firms in a Global Context: Reframing Narratives. In: Saks M., Muzio D. (eds) Professions and Professional Service Firms: Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy. Abingdon: Routledge: 26–45.

Foucault M. (1979) Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Fournier V. (1999) The Appeal to “Professionalism” as a Disciplinary Mechanism. Social Review. Vol. 47. No. 2: 656–673.

Freidson E. (1970) Profession of Medicine: A Study in the Sociology of Applied Knowledge. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co.

Freidson E. (1994) Professionalism Reborn: Theory, Prophecy and Policy. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Freidson E. (2001) Professionalism: The Third Logic. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Goode W. (1960) Encroachment, Charlatanism and the Emerging Profession: Psychology, Sociology and Medicine. American Sociological Review. Vol. 25. No. 6: 902–914.

Goodrick E., Reay T. (2011) Constellations of Institutional Logics: Changes in the Professional Work of Pharmacists. Work and Occupations. Vol. 38. No. 3: 372–416.

Gorman E., Sandefur R. (2011) “Golden Age”, Quiescence, and Revival: How the Sociology of Professions Became the Study of Knowledge-based Work. Work and Occupations. Vol. 38. No. 3: 275–302.

Graf E., Sator M., Spranz-Fogasy T. (2014) Discourses of Helping Professions. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Granfield R., Mather L. (eds) (2009) Private Lawyers and the Public Interest: The Evolving Role of Pro Bono in the Legal Profession. New York: Oxford University Press.

Greenwood E. (1957) The Attributes of a Profession. Social Work. Vol. 2. No. 3: 45–55.

Gubrium J., Holstein J. (2003) Analyzing Interpretive Practice. In: Denzin N., Lincoln Y. (eds) Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage: 214–248.

Halliday T.C. (1987) Beyond Monopoly: Lawyers, State Crises, and Professional Empowerment. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Hasselbalch J., Seabrooke L. (2018) Professional Strategies and Enterprise in Transnational Projects. In: Saks M., Muzio D. (eds) Professions and Professional Service Firms: Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy. Abingdon: Routledge: 46–64.

Hearn J., Biese I., Choroszewicz M., Husu L. (2016) Gender Diversity and Intersectionality in Professions and Potential Professions: Analytical, Historical and Contemporary Perspectives. In: Dent M., Bourgeault I., Dennis J., Kuhlmann E. (eds) The Routledge Companion on Professions and Professionalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 57–70.

Hickson D.J., Thomas M. W. (1969) Professionalization in Britain: A Preliminary Measure. Sociology. Vol. 3. No. 1: 37–53.

Hughes E. (1963) Professions. Daedalus. Vol. 92. No. 4: 655–668.

Iarskaia-Smirnova E., Abramov R. (2016) Professions and Professionalization in Russia. In: Dent M., Bourgeault I., Dennis J., Kuhlmann E. (eds) The Routledge Companion on Professions and Professionalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 280–294.

Johnson T. (1972) Professions and Power. London: Macmillan.

Johnson T. (1995) Governmentality and the Institutionalization of Expertise. In: Johnson T., Larkin G., Saks M. (eds) Health Professions and the State in Europe. London: Routledge: 7–24.

Jonnergård K., Erlingsdóttir G. (2012) Variations in Professions Adoption of Quality Reforms: The Cases of Doctors and Auditors in Sweden. Current Sociology. Vol. 60. No. 5: 672–689.

Kirkpatrick I. (2016) Hybrid managers and Professional Leadership. In: Dent M., Bourgeault I., Dennis J., Kuhlmann E. (eds) The Routledge Companion on Professions and Professionalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 175–187.

Krause E. (1996) The Death of the Guilds: Professions, States and the Advance of Capitalism, 1930 to the Present. New Haven, CO: Yale University Press.

Kuhlmann E., Annandale E. (eds) (2012) The Palgrave Handbook of Gender and Healthcare. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition.

Kuhlmann E., Saks M. (eds) (2008) Rethinking Professional Governance: International Directions in Healthcare. Bristol: Policy Press.

Larson M.S. (1977) The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Larson M.S. (1990) On the Matter of Experts and Professionals, or How It Is Impossible to Leave Nothing Unsaid. In: Torstendahl R., Burrage M. (eds) The Formation of Professions: Knowledge, State and Strategy. London: Sage: 24–50.

Leicht K.T. (2018) Professions and Entrepreneurship in International Perspective. In: Saks M., Muzio D. (eds) Professions and Professional Service Firms: Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy. Abingdon: Routledge: 9–25.

Medvetz T., Sallaz J.J. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Pierre Bourdieu. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Liljegren A., Saks M. (eds) (2016) Professions and Metaphors: Understanding Professions in Society. Abingdon: Routledge.

Lymbery M. (2000) The Retreat from Professionalism: From Social Worker to Care Manager. In: Malin N. (ed.) Professionalism, Boundaries and the Workplace. London: Routledge: 123–138.

Macdonald K. (1995) The Sociology of the Professions. London: Sage.

Miller P., Kurunmaki L., O'Leary T. (2008) Accounting, Hybrids and the Management of Risk. Accounting, Organizations and Society. Vol. 33. No. 7: 942–967.

Millerson G. (1964) The Qualifying Associations. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Navarro V. (1986) Crisis, Health and Medicine: A Social Critique. London: Tavistock.

Nettleton S. (1992) Power, Pain and Dentistry. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Noordegraaf M. (2018) Enterprise, Hybrid Professionalism and the Public Sector. In: Saks M., Muzio D. (eds) Professions and Professional Service Firms: Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy. Abingdon: Routledge: 93–109.

Olgiati V. (2003) Geo-political Constructionism: The Challenge of Europe to the Comparative Sociology of the Professions. In: Svensson L., Evetts J. (eds) Conceptual and Comparative Studies of Continental and Anglo-American Professions. Göteborg: Göteborg University: 55–77.

Parkin F. (1979) Marxism and Class Theory: A Bourgeois Critique. London: Tavistock.

Parkin F. (1982) Max Weber. New York: Routledge.

Parry N., Parry J. (1976) The Rise of the Medical Profession. London: Croom Helm.

Perucci R. (1973) In the Service of Man: Radical Movements in the Professions. In: Halmos P. (ed.) Professionalization and Social Change. In: Sociological Review Monograph. No. 20. Keele: University of Keele: 179–194.

Pickard S. (2009) The Professionalization of General Practitioners with a Special Interest: Rationalization, Restratification and Governmentality. Sociology. Vol. 43. No. 2: 250–267.

Pickard S. (2010) The Role of Governmentality in the Establishment, Maintenance and Demise of Professional Jurisdictions: The Case of Geriatric Medicine. Sociology of Health and Illness. Vol. 32. No. 7: 1072–1086.

Porter S. (1996) Contra-Foucault: Soldiers, Nurses and Power. Sociology. Vol. 30. No. 1: 59–78.

Rogowski R. (1995) German Corporate Lawyers: Social Closure in Autopoietic Perspective. In: Dezalay Y., Sugarman D. (eds) Professional Competition and Professional Power: Lawyers Accountants and the Social Construction of Markets. London: Routledge: 114–135.

Roszak T. (1995) The Making of a Counter Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Roth J.A. (1974) Professionalism: The Sociologists Decoy. Work and Occupations. Vol. 1. No. 1: 6–23. DOI: 10.1177/073088847400100102.

Saks M. (2010) Analyzing the Professions: The Case for a Neo-Weberian Approach. Comparative Sociology. Vol. 9. No. 6: 887–915.

Saks M. (1998) Deconstructing or Reconstructing Professions? Interpreting the Role of Professional Groups in Society. In: Olgiati V., Orzack L., Saks M. (eds) Professions, Identity and Order in Comparative Perspective. Onati: Onati International Institute for the Sociology of Law: 351–364.

Saks M. (2012) Defining a Profession: The Role of Knowledge and Expertise. Professions and Professionalism. Vol. 2. No. 1: 1–10.

Saks M. (2015a) Health Policy and Complementary and Alternative Medicine. In: Kuhlmann E., Blank R., Bourgeault I., Wendt C. (eds) The Palgrave International Handbook of Healthcare Policy and Governance. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 494–509.

Saks M. (2015b) Inequalities, Marginality and the Professions. Current Sociology Review. Vol. 63. No. 6: 850–868.

Saks M. (2016a) Professions and Power. In: Dent M., Bourgeault I., Dennis J. and Kuhlmann E. (eds) The Routledge Companion on Professions and Professionalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 71–85.

Saks M. (1995) Professions and the Public Interest: Medical Power, Altruism and Alternative Medicine. London: Routledge.

Saks M. (2018) Regulation and Russian Medicine: Whither Medical Professionalisation? In: Chamberlain M.J., Dent M., Saks M. (eds) Professional Health Regulation in the Public Interest: International Perspectives. Bristol: Policy Press: 117–134.

Saks M. (1983) Removing the Blinkers? A Critique of Recent Contributions to the Sociology of Professions. Sociological Review. Vol. 31. No. 1: 1–21.

Saks M. (2016b) Review of Theories of Professions, Organizations and Society: Neo-Weberianism, Neoinstitutionalism and Eclecticism. Journal of Professions and Organization. Vol. 3. No. 2: 170–187.

Saks M. (2003) The Limitations of the Anglo-American Sociology of the Professions: A Critique of the Current Neo-Weberian Orthodoxy. Knowledge, Work and Society. Vol. 1. No. 1: 11–31.

Saks M. (2015c) The Professions, State and the Market: Medicine in Britain, the United States and Russia. Abingdon: Routledge.

Saks M., Adams T. (2019) Neo-Weberianism, Professional Formation and the State: Inside the Black Box. Professions and Professionalism. Vol. 9. No. 2: 1–14.

Saks M., Brock D. (2018) Professions and Organizations in Europe. In: Siebert S. (ed.) Management Research: European Perspectives. Abingdon: Routledge: 185–200.

Saks M., Muzio D. (eds) (2018) Professions and Professional Service Firms: Private and Public Sector Enterprises in the Global Economy. Abingdon: Routledge.

Saunders P. (2007) Urban Politics: A Sociological Interpretation. Abingdon: Routledge.

Schinkel W., Noordegraaf M. (2011) Professionalism as Symbolic Capital: Materials for a Bourdieusian Theory of Professionalism. Comparative Sociology. Vol. 10. No. 1: 67–96.

Sciulli D. (2005) Continental Sociology of Professions Today: Conceptual Contributions. Current Sociology. Vol. 53. No. 6: 915–942.

Sommerlad H., Young R., Vaughan S., Harris-Short S. (eds) (2015) The Futures of Legal Education and the Legal Profession. Oxford: Hart.

Suddaby R., Cooper D.J., Greenwood R. (2007) Transnational Regulation of Professional Services: Governance Dynamics of Field Level Organizational Change. Accounting, Organizations and Society. Vol. 32. No. 4/5: 333–362.

Suddaby R., Muzio D. (2015) Theoretical Perspectives of the Professions. In: Empson L., Muzio D., Broschak J., Hinings B. (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 25–47.

Svennson L. (1999) Professionals as a New Middle Class: The Swedish Case. In: Hellberg I., Saks M., Benoit C. (eds) Professional Identities in Transition: Cross-cultural Dimensions. Södertälje: Almqvist & Wiksell International: 83–104.

Svensson L., Evetts J. (2010) Introduction. In: Svensson L., Evetts J. (eds) Sociology of Professions: Continental and Anglo-Saxon Traditions. Göteborg: Daidalos: 9–30.

Swedberg R., Agevall O. (2016) The Max Weber Dictionary: Key Words and Central Concepts. 2nd ed. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Tonkens E. (2016) Professions, Service Users and Citizenship: Deliberation, Choice and Responsibility. In: Dent M., Bourgeault I., Dennis J., Kuhlmann E. (eds) The Routledge Companion on Professions and Professionalism. Abingdon: Routledge: 45–56.

Waring J. (2014) Restratification, Hybridity and Professional Elites: Questions of Power, Identity and Relational Contingency at the Points of Professional-Organisational Intersection. Sociology Compass. No. 8: 688–704.

Weber M. (1968) Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology. New York: Bedminster Press.

Whittle A., Mueller F., Carter C. (2016) The “Big Four” in the Spotlight: Accountability and Professional Legitimacy in the UK Audit Market. Journal of Professions and Organization. Vol. 3. No. 2: 119–141.

Witz A. (1992) Professions and Patriarchy. London: Routledge.

Content No 6, 2020