Varieties of Professionalism: Developing Theory through Comparative Analyses
Traditional theories often focus on single characteristics such as professional knowledge, professional ethics, or professional closure as defining for professionalism, professional groups, and professional power. Recently, though, important theoretical contributions have been made by focusing on the differences between organizational and occupational professionalism, and the study of different hybrid models.
These contributions, however, focus on variations stemming from the foundations of professionalism and professional identities within occupational groups or organizational settings and/or administrative logics, and no other possible sources of variation. The purpose of this session is, instead, to contribute to the further development of theories on professionalism and professional groups by enlarging the comparative scope beyond the occupation-organization dimension.
More precisely, it is the intention to compare and explore different contextual settings confronting professional groups, as well as different strategies, practices, and identities that may characterize professional groups and their professionalism. Also, the possible (mutual) relationship between settings, strategies, practices and identities should be addressed. Dimensions of variation could be epistemological differences, relationship to clients, sectoral affiliation (public/private), national setting, or historic trajectory (emerging/established/challenged).
The session thus invites papers focusing on contributing to the development of our understanding of the varieties of professionalism and professional groups, as opposed to professionalism and professional groups as defined by single characteristics. Both empirical papers with a comparative focus, and theoretical papers discussing varieties of professionalism, are welcome. Also, papers exploring and discussing dynamics at the macro-, meso-, and micro-levels of professionalism and professional groups are equally welcome.