Professionalism - Does it Matter?

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Jordan Moulds Assignment 2


Assignment #2

Is a profession different to any other occupation? Why or why not? Do you think that the definition of a 'profession' matters anymore?

The categorical segregation between professions and alternative career paths has, traditionally, been a vehicle by which the elite class of society can retain their economic power over the lower socio-economic groups and prevent the intermingling of the working class with upper class professionals. However, given the now rapidly developing ethical frameworks and stringent procedures shared by both professions and other occupations alike, the previously accepted theories as to the distinction appear to not hold the same weight. In this paper, I seek to establish that such a distinction is no longer appropriate given the inability for the traits theory and resources of power theory to demonstrate a material division between professions and non-professions, and that such segregation provides nothing but a catalyst for occupational-based discrimination.

Traits Theory

In attempting to provide a theoretical framework for the distinction between professions and other occupations, sociologists during the 1950s and 60s, most notably Greenwood, subscribed to the ideology that a profession could be defined by the traits that professionals exude. Faced with conflicting ideas as to what traits constitute a professional from a myriad of sociologists, Millerson attempted to refine the six most prevalent to the following:-[1: Ernest Greenwood, 'Attributes of a Profession' (1957) 2(3) Social Work 45.][2: Yssiah Ross, Ethics in Law: Lawyers' Responsibility and Accountability in Australia (LexisNexis, 6th ed, 2013) 55. ]

Skill based on theoretical knowledge;

The provision of training and education;

Testing the competence of members;


An ethical code of conduct; and

Altruistic service.[3: G Millerson, The Qualifying Association: A Study in Professionalism (Routledge and Keegan Paul, 1964). ]

Skill based on theoretical...