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The English building industry in late modernity: An empirical investigation of the definition, construction and meaning of profession.

Eccles, Timothy Stephen (2009) The English building industry in late modernity: An empirical investigation of the definition, construction and meaning of profession. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

This thesis describes the methods by which individuals and associations give meaning to the concept of profession within the English building industry in the late modern period. The hypothesis is that professional associations control occupations. Whilst this might be accepted in a wider literature, building professionals identify with a far bleaker, late modern, interpretation of profession. The literature portrays a 'backwards' industry without a determinant authority, characterised by fragmented and servile professional associations. The thesis utilises Burrage's (2006) four-goal-framework to structure its investigation through semi-structured interviews with professionals and their associations. This proposes that associations control admission and training, define and defend a jurisdiction, set up a system to govern their own members and seek to improve their corporate status. This work concludes that professionals and associations strategically engage with these issues. There are problems facing professions, but their demise is not one of them. Indeed, rather than be defensive, associations are enhancing their controlling systems. This involves a looser coupling between associations and their membership, which creates some fracturing to the construction of identity. However, the result is new forms of occupational provision, in alliance with both clients and the state, that establish clear dialogues for identity and very specific types of service that are well separated from external 'quacks'. Faced with an environment that is ostensibly deeply sceptical, associations are selective in how they defend and enhance both their status and control systems. This has led, for example, to a withdrawal from controlling entry in the face of government demands to widen participation, to be replaced with strong regulatory schemes for members. This creates standardisation and practical guarantees of competency, a powerful executive in a quasi-judicial regulatory role, and clear rules of behaviour and permanent training through CPD. The result is 'competent', 'safe', 'good' and 'ethical' occupational jurisdiction.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Business Administration, General
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2733

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