Conclusion: The Social Structure and the Changing Face of Professional Work
Professional work is currently in a period of transition. This transition is contested by a wide variety of groups and interests — the professionals themselves, clients, the state and so on. I have argued that this shift is part of a wider restructuring that entails the metamorphosis from a Fordist to a flexible regime of accumulation. As such, to understand what is happening across a wide variety of professional occupations we need to understand this broader societal change. This means that the sociology of the professions has to understand these developments and how they are interpreted by mainstream sociology (and other disciplines) if we are to be insightful about what is taking place within the professions and why. However, this also provides us with a great opportunity because the professionals, who are an important section of the service class, will have (and are having) an important say in this transformation. The relationship between these professionals and society is dialectic. If we need these broader debates to understand what is occurring within individual professions, we also need an understanding of what is happening in this key area of work to understand broader societal change and what is influencing it.
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