Critical examinations of professionalism have an intermittent history, usually being adjunctive to ongoing debates concerned with, for example, new managerialism (Busher and Saran 1995; Clarke and Newman, 1996); new work practices (Legge 1995); and the intersections of work and capitalist systems (Thompson 1983). Partly as a consequence of both this relative marginalisation in mainstream organisational analysis and the dominance of 'realist' labour process perspectives (O'Doherty and Willmott 1998), studies of professionalism and professionals have often remained locked in notions of ideological practice (Elliott 1975; Collins 1979; Murphy 1988). Moreover, much of the literature on the professional and professionalism has been presented without reference to gender (Davies 1996). Where critical analysis of women's relationship to professional practice has taken place, it has, as Davies (1996) notes, largely drawn on the notions of closure and exclusion central to realist labour process perspectives (see, for example, Crompton 1987; Witz 1990; Witz 1992). Consequently, while such studies have made important contributions to illuminating the gendered characteristics of professional practices, there has been little subsequent examination of professionalism in relation to gendered subjectivity and identity. This gap in academic knowledge is particularly acute in respect of masculinities and the professional manager. Thus, while feminist studies have exposed the gendered character of professions, giving a critique of the previously unproblematised synonymity of men and professionalism, little attention has been given to the ways in which masculinity and men's subjectivities combine to form and define dominant notions of professionalism within the managerial context (see Davies (1996) and Kerfoot (2001) for discussion).
Recognising that gendered identity work is a central element of occupational and organisational dynamics, this chapter undertakes a re-evaluation of the concept of professionalism. In so doing, the intention is to contribute to a deconstruction of the term professional(ism), away from dualistic accounts of autonomy and regulation, while concurring with those feminist scholars who argue that gender is a key feature of professionals and notions of professional practice (Crompton and Sanderson 1986; Davies 1996). In attempting