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Unit 3 Lecture Notes

Unit 3 Lecture Notes - SOCI 3750 Unit 3 Lecture Notes...

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SOCI 3750 Unit 3 Lecture Notes 14 October 2010 I. An Overview of Professions a. What’s a profession? i. Two Main Perspectives: “Hallmarks” and “Power” 1. Hallmark’s Perspective a. This is the traditional view in sociology (sometimes called “traits” approach) b. Isolates what is “most characteristic” of a profession vs. other lines of work c. In any given example, there may be challenges to the list of so-called “hallmarks” (specific cases don’t fit perfectly) 2. Bottom line: professions are typically high- status occupations that have four hallmarks (think “main characteristics”) a. Abstract, specialized knowledge b. Autonomy c. Authority over clients and subordinate occupational groups d. A degree of altruism 3. Examples of lines of work commonly thought to be “professions” by sociologists: a. Law, medicine, the ministry, scientist, university professor II. Power Perspectives a. Rejects the idea that there are distinctive characteristics of professions that set them apart from other occupations b. “Hallmarks perspective” is baloney from the “power” point of view c. Basic pitch: professions are occupations that have had the POWER to win the label “profession” i. Why bother to win that label? 1. Successfully claiming the label “profession” gives an occupation more control over clients, other occupations, and in society more broadly (prestige, pay, who can legitimately do the work, etc.) ii. Min investigative foci: 1. The processes by which some lines of work but not others become powerful, high-status professions
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2. The processes that lead to deprofessionalization or the loss of professional power and stature III. The Four Hallmarks a. First hallmark: abstract, specialized knowledge i. Professions and “esoteric” knowledge 1. All occupations have a body of knowledge that its members master 2. What distinguishes professions is the type of knowledge 3. “Common” vs. “esoteric” knowledge a. Common: known by many b. Esoteric: known only by few 4. What esoteric knowledge is valued varies across societies 5. Professions typically involve a form of “esoteric” knowledge that is considered important in a society, possibly a matter of life or death (but this can also be a matter of power) ii. Four parts to the knowledge base of a profession 1. Theoretical knowledge a. Often acquired via advanced education b. Example: physician’s knowledge of biochemistry 2. Detailed, practical information a. Can be applied in serving a client b. Example: physicians know specific information about diseases and treatment 3. Technique a. The application of the knowledge base b. Example: knowing not just that an intravenous medication is necessary, but how much to administer and how to get it into the body 4. Professional culture a. More than pure knowledge, this gets at the norms, values, lifestyles of the profession i. Many have some form of formalized “codes of conduct”, others have informal understandings ii. Professions as subcultures b. Promoted in professional schools (ex. law
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