Professions and Professional Ideologies in America

By Gerald L. Geison | Go to book overview
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Chapter 1
Talcott Parsons, "Professions", in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sci- ences, ed. David L. Sills ( New York, 1968), 12:545.
Ibid., pp. 536-46. Parsons went so far as to say (p. 546) that "the professional complex has . . . even begun to dominate the contemporary scene in such a way as to render obsolescent the primacy of the old issues of political authoritarianism and capitalistic exploitation."
Abraham Flexner, "Is Social Work a Profession?" School and Society 1 ( 1915): 901-11. For an even earlier example of the genre, see W. H. Walker, "What Constitutes a Chemical Engineer?" The Chemical Engineer 2 ( 1905): 1-3. My thanks to my col- league John Servos for the latter reference.
Randall Collins, The Credential Society: An Historical Sociology of Education and Stratification ( New York, 1979).
Parsons, "Professions", p. 536.
For an especially explicit example, see Vern L. Bullough, The Development of Medicine as a Profession: The Contribution of the Medieval University to Modern Medicine ( Basel, 1966).
On the sociology and historiography of the professions before 1970, see Laurence Veysey , "Who's a Professional? Who Cares?" Reviews in American History 3 ( 1975) 419-23.
Jethro K. Lieberman, The Tyranny of the Experts: How Professionals Are Closing the Open Society ( New York, 1970). For recent examples of the "revolt of the client," see Bernard Barber, "Control and Responsibility in the Powerful Professions", Political Science Quarterly 93 (Winter 1978-79): 599-615.
See, e.g., Robert Dingwall, "Accomplishing Profession", Sociological Review, n.s. 24 ( 1976): 331-49.
See, e.g., Burton J. Bledstein, The Culture of Professionalism: The Middle Class and the Development of Higher Education in America ( New York, 1976); Magali Sarfatti Larson , The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis ( Berkeley, 1977); Mary O. Furner, Advocacy & Objectivity: A Crisis in the Professionalization of American Social Science ( Lexington, 1975); Terence J. Johnson, Professions and Power ( London, 1972); Jeffrey L. Berlant, Profession and Monopoly: A Study of Medicine in the United States and Great Britain ( Berkeley, 1975); E. Richard Brown, Rockefeller Medicine Men: Medicine and Capitalism in America ( Berkeley, 1979); David Noble, America by Design: Science, Technology, and the Rise of Corporate Capitalism ( New York, 1977).
The virtues of a flexible and modulated Parsonian approach can be seen in the valuable recent work of Thomas L. Haskell. See his The Emergence of Professional Social Science: The American Social Science Association and the Nineteenth-Cen- tury Crisis of Authority ( Urbana, 1977); and "Power to the Experts", New York Review of Books, 13 Oct 1977, pp. 28-33.
Veysey in "Who's a Professional?" stresses this point in his review of the book by


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