Periodising Professions History

  • Edgar A BurnsEmail author


Claims by and about professions are challenged by a simple chunking method. This obliges conventional professionalisation histories to incorporate alternative evidence. Western modern professions have been around for 200 years and are viewed by many as obvious parts of society. Modern professions are quite new and have spent a lot of time and energy contesting occupational territory in labour markets; they are not simply about knowledge, progress and care in modern society. Contemplating four artificial fifty-year blocks to recount changes and developments to professions usefully disrupts naturalised histories. Earlier professions changed under socioeconomic pressures, and this continues today. Better explanations of how professions developed to the present are necessary preparation for big changes coming with the rebalancing of geopolitical power and the oncoming digital era.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Waikato UniversityNapierNew Zealand

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