This book tells the story of the principal European intellectual professions from the demise of the ancient régime to the rise of the European Union. A historical study which applies sociological concepts it creates a European-scale picture of the professions spanning over two centuries of change. Uniting the legal, medical, engineering and accounting professions it provides a comparative historical and sociological exploration of 'Professional Europe'. The book: • comprehensively investigates the roots and origins of the four professions• reconstructs the processes and changes which have characterised them • charts their response to external agents such as the state, diverse social movements, economic crises and wars. Inspired by Bourdieu it rejects theories of professionalization drawing instead upon the sociology of crisis and theories on the decline of the professions to introduce the intellectual professions' relationship with the fascist and authoritarian regimes. Detailed, well defined and critical in its application Professional Men, Professional Women also examines the role of women within the professions and includes a devoted chapter conducting a twofold comparison between countries and professions.
Chapter 2: Doctors
The Assault on the Corporations
The British medical profession epitomizes the collective project for social mobility that transformed the contemporary professions (Sarfatti Larson, 1977: Chapters 6, 7). The pressure for change arose from below, and it was generated by reasons of status. The lower-ranking doctors sought legitimation for their occupation and a social recognition equal to that enjoyed by the medical elite which ministered to the aristocracy. However, this goal could only be achieved by eliminating the corporative structure that enabled the medical elite to preserve its ancient privileges, thereby condemning the profession to a backwardness which was no longer acceptable. The assault on the medical guilds formed part of the political clash between the Whigs, promoters of the new liberalist culture, and the ...