Professional Work: Knowledge, Power, and Inequality
Call for Papers to be published in Research in the Sociology of Work
Elizabeth Gorman and Steven Vallas, editors
Professional occupations have undergone enormous changes in recent years. Markets for many professional services have globalized. Information technology has markedly transformed the work that professionals and knowledge workers do. Organizations employing professionals have grown larger and more bureaucratic –and in many cases, they have outsourced core functions to suppliers of professional and para-professional labor located in the global south. New occupations such as “data scientists” are making claims to professional status, while members of many older professions are forced to market themselves in ever more entrepreneurial ways. Some professionals have become the consiglieres of large corporations, dedicated to facilitating their pursuit of business interests, raising questions about their professional independence. Some professions (such as journalism) have experienced wrenching technological changes that have eroded the autonomy (and the jobs) of many practitioners. Moreover, inequality within professions has grown sharply; in higher education, for example, tenured and tenure-track professors account for a shrinking minority of university faculty. In the face of these and other changes, traditional forms of professional self-regulation have been called into question, with far-reaching consequences for the social order as a whole.