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Drawing Distinctions: Structural Qualities, Illustrations And A Rereading

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Chapter Summary

This chapter illustrates in two ways the empirical and theoretical fruitfulness of the structural and institutional approach to professionalism. Because the approach holds up always and everywhere, some illustrations in this chapter challenge basic assertions of received wisdom in the sociology of professions. There are three ways in which it is possible to illustrate how and why our approach to the sociology of professions advances the received literature. Each way provides examples of how and why our approach overcomes longstanding conundrums and aporias, those bedeviling the sociology of professions from its founding in the 1930s to today. Much like Freidson and Larson before him, Abbott is equally certain that "the fundamental assumption of the professionalization literature is incorrect. Abbott follows revisionism in reducing professionalism to power plays is exemplified by remarks he makes in passing, for instance when considering whether librarians can professionalize.

Keywords: Abbott; Freidson; Larson; professionalism; professions; sociology

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