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Palgrave Macmillan

Professionalism and Social Change

Processes of Differentiation Within, Between and Beyond Professions

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Identifies and analyses the main challenges that professions and professionals are facing in contemporary society
  • Explores social consequences of trends in economy and labour
  • Looks at the ways in which professional groups are driving current social change

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About this book

This book guides the reader in discovering contemporary professions and the critical changes they have lived through after the post-industrial transformation of advanced capitalist societies. Two interrelated concepts are used to interpret what is happening in professional work: differentiation, namely the set of processes by which professions and professionalism have become more diverse, and heterogeneity, the outcomes of such processes.

A novel analytical framework  delves into differentiation and understands heterogeneity based on three dimensions: within (how professions are structured internally), between (how professions distinguish themselves from other occupations and from each other), and beyond (how professions govern societal changes and influence differentiation processes). The book presents a collection of studies covering different countries and professions to demonstrate the analytical potential of the within-between-beyond model. The conclusions show how “neo-liberal” professionalism is putting the very idea of collegiate professions at stake while exposing emerging professions to market risks.

Chapters 1 and 10 are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via


Table of contents (14 chapters)

  1. Within

Editors and Affiliations

  • IGOP/Department of Political Science and Public Law, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Campus de la UAB, Bellaterra, Spain

    Lara Maestripieri

  • Department of Social and Economic Sciences (DiSSE), Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy

    Andrea Bellini

About the editors

Lara Maestripieri holds a PhD in Sociology and Social Research, granted by the University of Trento (2011). She is a “Ramon y Cajal” distinguished researcher at the Department of Political Science at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the IGOP (Institute of Government and Public Policy). She is the current Secretary/Treasurer of the ISA RC52 “Sociology of Professional Groups” board. Previous publications on emerging professions appeared in the Journal of Professions & Organization, Canadian Review of Sociology, Professions & Professionalism.

Andrea Bellini received a PhD in Sociology from the University of Florence. He currently holds a position as an Assistant Professor at the Sapienza University of Rome. His research interests are at the crossroads of the sociology of professions and industrial relations. Within this broad area, his work has focused on the study of labour regulation and interest representation. His publications include contributions on the legal, healthcare, and creative professions. He is a member of the editorial board of CAMBIO.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Professionalism and Social Change

  • Book Subtitle: Processes of Differentiation Within, Between and Beyond Professions

  • Editors: Lara Maestripieri, Andrea Bellini

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Social Sciences, Social Sciences (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-31277-9Published: 05 August 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-31280-9Due: 13 August 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-31278-6Published: 04 August 2023

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XXIII, 323

  • Number of Illustrations: 6 b/w illustrations

  • Topics: Social Sciences, general, Sociology of Work, Management

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