Upbringing of Engineers: Resources and Limitations of "Intergenerational Career"

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Irina POPOVA, Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia, National Research University Higher School of Economics, Russia
This paper focuses on the issues of the resources of family upbringing of future engineers under crisis conditions in engineering education in Russia. The balance of fundamental knowledge and practical skills in the higher engineering education curriculum, as well as the role of continuity in its development  are at the heart of current discussions regarding a new stage in its development. One of the issues of today’s discussion is the application of the historical experience of family traditions of professional practice in the 19-20 centuries science education as a possible resource of efficiency of modern engineering.

The subject of this paper is the examination of practices and prospects of the incorporation of professional family traditions into the formation of the early careers of younger generation. Key questions are associated: firstly, with the socializing effect of professional experience of the previous generations, which becomes the "initial" career capital for the new generations; and, secondly, with the impact of the so-called professional family dynasties in the sphere of engineering profession on this process. This offers grounds for discussion of the "intergenerational career" issue  – career advancement, based on socialized and integrated resources of professional family practice.

Professional dynasties were encouraged during previous periods of Russian/ Soviet history. How highly in demand are they under the present conditions in the engineering profession? Knowledge and practice in the field of science and technology are changing dramatically. Do the inherited professional practices become an obstacle for the new generations of engineers or, on the contrary, are the professional family traditions - an advantageous start for their new careers?

These issues are examined based on the research project (supported by the Russian Foundation for Humanities, grant № 15-03-00666), encompassing the analysis of semi-structures interviews with experts and engineers.