"Golden age," Quiescence, and Revival: How the sociology of professions became the study of knowledge-based work

Elizabeth H. Gorman, Rebecca L. Sandefur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations

Abstract

Both professional work and the sociological study of professional work experienced a "golden age" in the mid-20th century. When dramatic changes began to shake the professions in the 1970s and 1980s, however, old approaches no longer fit, and the research area became quiescent. Yet interest in professional work simply "went underground," surfacing under other names in a variety of sociological and interdisciplinary fields. In the process, researchers' focus expanded to include a broader range of "expert" or "knowledge-based" occupations as well as traditional professions. This essay brings these disparate research streams together and shows that they cohere around four central themes: expert knowledge, autonomy, a normative orientation grounded in community, and high status, income, and other rewards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-302
Number of pages28
JournalWork and Occupations
Volume38
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • autonomy
  • community
  • expert knowledge
  • professional work
  • status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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