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Chapter Summary

There are four sets of questions any credible sociology of professions fairly may be expected to answer. In answering these questions, any credible sociology of professions needs to draw sharp distinctions, at once analytical and also empirically fruitful, between professions and other occupations. The major premise of the syllogism is a projection of Whiggish historiography falsely reading the context and characteristics of modern legal professionalism back into all earlier occupational orders. Precisely because steps toward sufficient abstraction have not been taken in Anglo-American theories of professionalism, including those by Parsons, continental sociologists continue routinely to consider the eight decade-long effort to identify professions to be an idiosyncratically Anglo-American exercise, one which is intrinsically ethnocentric, ideological or both. Even today the late Pierre Bourdieu went even further, proposing that the very term profession is itself a manifestation of "Anglo-Saxon cultural imperialism".

Keywords: anglo-Saxon cultural imperialism; ethnocentrism; professionalism; Whiggish historiography



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