It is one of the clichés of history that the middle classes are always rising. The expansion of professional occupations within the middle class has given a new form to this perpetual historical motion. The growth in the number of professionals and in the number of occupations claiming professional status is one of a number of current processes of social change which have been examined by sociologists. Among these processes professionalisation has received relatively little attention. It would be unreasonable to expect a literature on the sociology of the professions as large as that on urban or industrial sociology. Most people live in cities and work in industry. Nearly a tenth of the employed population of Great Britain and a rather larger proportion of the employed population in the United States of America are members of what the respective census authorities loosely define as professional occupations.1 The rapid increase in the number of people in such occupations is one indication of the importance of the process of professionalisation. A more important reason is that this process is closely linked with various other aspects of social change. The study of professions and professionalism provides a focal point which can show the interconnections between a number of apparently different developments.
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