Professionals as Producers

  • Richard Hugman


Professionalism is one of the defining features of modern society (Perkin, 1989). Explanations of this phenomenon have emerged from sociology and social history, locating professionalism clearly in the context of industrial capitalism as a form of the social organisation of particular types of work (Johnson, 1972; Wilding, 1982; Friedson, 1983, 1986; Abbott and Wallace, 1990). That is to say, the form of occupations which are called ‘professional’ historically have accompanied the development of industrial capitalism. Perkin (1989, pp. 120–1) notes that in the period of rapid social change in the early to middle nineteenth century, in which the boundaries between the aristocratic and middle classes were in flux, a division emerged between the professions and business. Both areas of activity were arenas in which the values of work and of respectability were able to be reconciled, but they produced in turn quite different, even divergent, values. The outcome by the twentieth century was a mutual distrust, each of the other. The dichotomy which came to be well established separated ‘culture’ from ‘industry’ and ‘intellect’ from ‘technique’. For Perkin (1989, pp. 122–3) it therefore seems to have followed that the professionals of this period came to regard the values of free market capitalism as inhumane, even inhuman.


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Copyright information

© Richard Hugman 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Hugman
    • 1
  1. 1.Curtin University of TechnologyPerthAustralia

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