Professionalisation Discourses

  • Edgar A BurnsEmail author


The concept of professionalisation discourse generates understanding of how professions link the organisational information described in the previous chapter to naturalised narratives of modernisation, progress and science that Max Weber called formal rationalisation. Early professions claimed to be both good and expert and since then have successfully bundled these ideas together. The powerfully ‘built together’ quality of these discourses about professions continually resists challenge. For two centuries, this pairing has justified the value of professional work and legitimated demands for social status and earning. Even though previously effective, this bundling is not an adequate explanation of professions, professionals or professionalism. A better explanation is gained reviewing five temptations that shape descriptions of professions, revealing a more realistic and accurate picture of professionalisation and professions’ claims.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waikato UniversityNapierNew Zealand

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