On (new) Moral Communities. Proximity and Normativity in Changing Professions

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 10:45
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Christiane SCHNELL, Institute of Social Research at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Annalisa TONARELLI, Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali - UniversitĂ  di Firenze, Italy
After decades of structural changes within the sphere of professional work, professionals seam to dissolve away of their former collective identities. Instead of the ideal typical construction of a homogenous elitist group, an encroaching of individualism characterizes the current development. Therefore different dimensions of individualization within professions are diagnosed: for example the influence of organizations on professional identities, a rising labour market competition, a turn from a professional to a more entrepreneurial orientation and the social diversity within professions in terms of gender, class and ethnicity, which complicate the social integration within professional groups. But not only is the social constellation of professionalism affected by these developments. In fact the consequences concern professionalism in general, insofar as professionalism connects the development and the reproduction of knowledge with a particular value system. With regard to empirical findings from different professional fields as medicine, journalism, lawyers and designers, the paper asks now for the analytical potential of the concept of the “moral community” on the background of these developments. According to Durkheim morality can’t be understood isolated from the social context it is developed in and which at the same time is hold together by value orientations. We suggest, that identifying new moral communities within the larger established and non-established professional groups is an important key to describe and understand the transformation of professions in a future perspective.