The Sociology of the Professions is a key addition to the literature on the sociology of work. A comprehensive study of knowledge-based occupations, this new volume includes authoritative discussions of accountancy, law, and medicine, as well as the more traditional professions, like the clergy and the military. Macdonald's analysis of the professions is illustrated with numerous substantive examples and also provides comparisons between the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe. An examination of the history of the professions prefaces a detailed analysis of professionalism and power. Macdonald goes on to examine the relationship between professionalism, knowledge, the state, social stratification, organizations, and bureaucracy. The study concludes with a discussion of the future of the professions, which focuses on the issues of the state, bureaucracy, and social power.
The Sociology of the Professions is essential reading for any student of this increasingly important area of study. Lucid, clearly written and argued, Keith M. Macdonald has written an essential primer on sociology and the professions.
"Keith M. Macdonald's work is richly nuanced, eminently comparative, and singularly suggestive--and thoroughly engrossing, to boot. It begins with the assertion that the currently regnant framework for dealing with professions is considerably less illuminating than that provided by scholars in the symbolic interactionist tradition, i.e., the 'collective mobility project' of the drive of occupations toward professional status. For Macdonald, this is 'the professional project' whose components he describes. Macdonald explores the degree to which different cultural contexts facilitate or deter the project: the part played by the state, the stratification order, patriarchy, and the role of knowledge as both the outcome of cognition and metaphor for behavior. The author undertakes a detailed analysis of the professional project of accountancy, primarily in terms of British data but with some comparative material from Scotland and the U.S., bringing together previous ideas and deftly applying them to a continuing story."