Current Challenges to Professions and Their Regulation, through Transnational Mobility and Inter-Professional Tensions

Friday, 20 July 2018: 08:30-10:20
RC52 Sociology of Professional Groups (host committee)

Language: English

Self-regulating professions are experiencing pressures to change how they are regulated. Expected to ensure the public’s protection, these institutions face important challenges to defend their positioning. They are being pushed to implement more flexible admission procedures and recognize prior experiences, especially with foreign-trained professionals. Furthermore, there are pressures stemming from inter-professional competition over scopes of practice, competition for clientele, and overall social recognition.

Public confidence in professions, critical for their status given information asymmetry (Akerlof, 1970), appears to be dropping due to an expertise crisis, and even social backlash against experts.  This trend, combined with neoliberal ideologies that reduce public resources and encourage a free market draws into question professions’ social status and prestige.

Global circulation of professionals has been growing worldwide. Beside increased political pressure, legal and ethical issues are also invoked to facilitate admission and recognition of prior learning and experiences. These challenges come to light in cases of mutual recognition arrangements and other, more profession-specific, international agreements.

In this session we wish to examine how professions negotiate this context. Aside from metaphors of a “besieged fortress”, how can we analyze and understand how these organisations try to regain ground and public legitimation? How do they open to inter-professional collaboration and reduce monopolistic situations, and seek positive trade-offs and gains, whether in scopes of practice, political control or symbolic prestige?

Contributions stemming from research on professions, whether related to health and social services, legal domains or scientific and technical fields (engineering, architects, etc.), among others, are encouraged.

Session Organizers:
Jean-Luc BEDARD, TÉLUQ - Université du Québec, Canada and Tracey ADAMS, Sociology - University of Western Ontario, Canada
Jean-Luc BEDARD, TÉLUQ - Université du Québec, Canada and Tracey ADAMS, Sociology - University of Western Ontario, Canada
Oral Presentations
Perceptions of Professional Regulation’s Effects on UK Practitioners’ Professional Identities
Michael WARREN, Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, United Kingdom
Shining the Light on Dental Assistants
Tammy THOMSON, Continuing Education, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Canada