International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Professional Associations

  • Raquel Rego
  • Marta Varanda
Reference work entry


There are few references on professional associations, particularly in civil society literature. This paucity of references was already noted in the 1930s by Carr-Saunders and Wilson (1933). The research that does exist is analyzed under the general framework of sociology of professions/professional groups where the main focus is professions and professionalization of occupations. Professional associations receive only indirect attention.


A professional association is a body of a knowledge-based group, whose main concern is the promotion of technical standards (Torstendahl, 1990).

Anglo-American sociology of professions usually refers to professional associations as a sign of the maturity of a professional project (Carr-Saunders and Wilson, 1933; Wilensky, 1964; Larson, 1979).

Classic references from the sociology of professions identify the existence of stages of professionalization. Professional associations may thus be conceived as a stage of...

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References/Further Readings

  1. Alexander, L. B. (1980). Professionalization and unionization: Compatible after all? Social Work, 25(6), 476–482.Google Scholar
  2. Burrage, M., & Torstendahl, R. (Eds.) (1990). Professions in theory and history –rethinking the study of the professions. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Candler, G. G. (2000). The professions and public policy: Expanding the third sector. International Political Science Review, 21(1), 43–58.Google Scholar
  4. Carr-Saunders, A. M., & Wilson P. A. (1933). The professions. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
  5. Chapoulie, J.-M. (1973). Sur l’analyse sociologique des groupes professionnels. Revue Française de Sociologie, 14(1), 86–114.Google Scholar
  6. Dubar, C. (1991). La socialisation – construction des identités sociales et professionnelles. Paris: Armand Colin.Google Scholar
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  8. Evetts, J. (1995). International professional associations: The new context for professional projects. Work Employment Society, 9(4), 763–772.Google Scholar
  9. Evetts, J. (2002). New directions in state and international professional occupations: Discretionary decision-making and acquired regulation. Work Employment Society, 16(2), 341–353.Google Scholar
  10. Freidson, E. (1994). Professionalism reborn –theory, prophecy and policy. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  11. Galaskiewicz, J. (1985). Professional networks and the institutionalization of a single mind set. American Sociological Review, 50(5), 639–658.Google Scholar
  12. Gosnell, H. F., & Schmidt, M. J. (1935). Professional associations. Annals of American Academy of Political and Social Science, 179, 25–33.Google Scholar
  13. Greenwood, R., et al. (2002). Theorizing change: The role of professional associations in the transformation of institutionalized fields. Academy of Management Journal, 1(45), 58–80.Google Scholar
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  26. Selander, S. (1990). Associative strategies in the process of professionalization: Professional strategies and scientification of occupations. In M. Burrage & R. Torstendahl (Eds.), Professions in theory and history –rethinking the study of the professions (pp. 139–150). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Swan, J. A. (1995). The role of professional associations in technology diffusion. Organization Studies, 16(5), 847–874.Google Scholar
  28. Torstendahl, R. (1990). Essential properties, strategic aims and historical development: three approaches to theories of professionalism. In M. Burrage & R. Torstendahl (Eds.), Professions in theory and history –rethinking the study of the professions (pp. 44–61). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Wilensky, H. L. (1964). The professionalization of everyone? American Journal of Sociology, 70(2), 137–158.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raquel Rego
    • 1
  • Marta Varanda
    • 1
  1. 1.SOCIUS-ISEGLisbonPortugal