Power and the Professions in Britain, 1700-1850

Power and the Professions in Britain, 1700-1850

Power and the Professions in Britain, 1700-1850

Power and the Professions in Britain, 1700-1850

Synopsis

'Not simply pioneering, but also readable and entertaining.' - F M L Thompson, University of London This book identifies the growth of the professions as a key element in Britain's modernization from 1700 to 1850. Professional power depended ultimately upon public trust in specialist knowledge, but the professions were subjected to a torrent of ridicule and satire. This analysis of the rise of the professions during this period centres on a discussion of the philosophical questions arising from the complex relationship between power and knowledge.

Excerpt

If goodwill alone were enough, it would be relatively easy, though not totally plain sailing, to write books. But the process requires a large amount of undivided time and concentration that is difficult to find, in this age of intensive teaching and burgeoning academic administration. As a result, two periods of study leave, which were devoted to the development of the arguments presented here, have proved invaluable. the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton provided stimulating company and time for cogitation in the Autumn Semester 1987; and thanks go especially to Inga Clendinnen, Lawrence Duggan, John Elliott, Josep Fradera, Charles McClelland, James Van Horn Melton, Peter Paret, Maurice Slavin and Lawrence Stone for many good discussions. in addition, the British Nuffield Foundation generously awarded a Social Science Fellowship, tenable in London, for the academic year 1989-90. That conferred a true lifeline, without which the whole project would have stalled.

There are other practical and intellectual debts that it is also a pleasure to acknowledge. Colleagues in the History Department at Royal Holloway furnish a supportive and stimulating work environment; and students kindly humour my prediliction for debating the definition of historical terms. in addition, many friends have provided references and arguments, including Peter Clark, Joy Dixon, Eric Evans, Tony Henderson, Tim Hitchcock, Geoffrey Holmes, Julian Hoppit, Ludmilla Jordanova, Serena Kelly, Charles Medawar, Simon Renton, John Styles, John Turner, Amanda Vickery and Tim Wales. in addition, Arthur Burns, Margaret Pelling and David Sugarman have criticised individual chapters; and Simon Renton provided advice on eighteenth-century legislative procedures.

Research seminars at Lancaster and Stockholm Universities have also responded to early versions of this material with stimulating discussions. in practical terms, the Leverhulme Trust generously awarded funding to facilitate the computerisation of data relating to the professions and Tim Hitchcock supplied timely technical aid. Similarly, the research fund of Royal Holloway helped to initiate the creation of an 'Attornies' database, with the expert assistance of Matthew Woollard. Throughout, the Royal

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