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Professions and Burgertum: Etymological Ships Passing, Night into Day

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

None of the continental languages, either historically or during postwar decades, developed indigenously synonyms for professions or roughly equivalent terms. Even today, instead of studying professions in particular, continental sociologists typically study much broader socio-economic and socio-cultural formations. Thus, when Anglo-American sociologists were developing the sociology of professions before and after World War II, European sociologists had difficulty envisaging the point of the exercise. We review the evolution of the Anglo-American sociology of professions, the etymological divide just noted, and how the Continent's received Burgertum approach to middle class occupations differs from a professions approach.

Affiliations: 1: Sociology, Texas A&M University, 311 Academic Building, College Station, TX 77840-4351, USA;, Email:; 2: Sociology, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle, San Antonio, TX 78249-0655, USA;, Email:


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