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The Changing Opportunities of Professionalization for Graduate Occupations

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

In recent times, rapidly changing occupational contexts have altered professional trajectories. While sociologists have emphasized that abstract knowledge acquired in higher education is an important characteristic of professionalism, it is not clear whether the expansion of higher education has affected the possibility of individuals and groups to monopolize their university credentials. In this article the author argues that the emergence of new graduate occupations and the growth of a university-educated labour force have made occupational closure in the professions more difficult. The changing relationship between education, skills, jobs and credentials limits possibilities for the creation and maintenance of professionalization trajectories as a professional status and a professional knowledge base becomes harder to achieve. Due to the decreasing opportunities of using formal educational credentials to achieve professional closure, aspiring occupations will have to rely more on what is called ‘symbolic closure’.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology, City, University of LondonUK


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