RN19 - Sociology of Professions
For Perspectives on Professions and Professionalism - The major aim of the network is to provide a European forum for the development, discussion and dissemination of research in the sociology of professions.
Globalisation and European integration as well as national reorganisation and an overall change in welfare state models have to a great extent changed the conditions for professions and professional work. Thus, there is vital interest for a research network in the sociology of professions on a European scale. Major aims of the network are: to provide a European forum for the development, discussion and dissemination of research in the sociology of professions, to ensure an institutional context for workshops at future ESA conferences and for meetings between ESA conferences, to encourage and organise international research projects. An inaugural meeting was held at the fourth ESA conference, August 1999. For further information on the following meetings and activities, please find below the reports and the newsletters that are distributed electronically twice a year.
- Coordinator: Christiane Schnell, Institute of Social Research at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt/Main, Germany, ch.schnell[at]em.uni-frankfurt.de
- Co-coordinator and Treasurer, Secretary and Newsletter editor: Helena Hirvonen, University lecturer, University of Eastern Finland, helena.m.hirvonen[at]uef.fi
- Ph.D. Candidate Representative: Taru Siekkinen, Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland, taru.siekkinen[at]jyu.fi
Additional board members:
- Mirko Noordegraaf, Utrecht University School of Governance (USG); Utrecht, Netherlands, m.noordegraaf[at]uu.nl
- Roman Abramov, National Research University; Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. socioportal[at]yandex.ru
- Nina Weimann-Sandig, University of Applied Sciences for Social Work, Education and Nursing, Dresden, Germany. nina.weimann-sandig[at]ehs-dresden.de
- Teresa Carvalho, University of Aveiro and CIPES, Portugal (advisory member)
Last updated on Sept 6th, 2021
RN19 cfp: Interim meeting 2022: Dynamics of Professions and Professionalism: Work, Quality and Expertise
Utrecht / The Netherlands (note: conference to be held on location!)
In collaboration with the Utrecht University Focus area Professional Performance and the Utrecht University School of Governance (USG).
Coordinators: Christiane Schnell, Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt; Wieger Bakker, Utrecht University School of Governance; Helena Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland; Mirko Noordegraaf, Utrecht University School of Governance
Call for papers
Ongoing societal changes strongly influence professions, professionalism and professional practices. For instance, the internet affects the availability of information and the way in which people communicate; the pace of technological development – including big data and artificial intelligence – is leading to automation of a growing number of professional tasks; social media generate new pressures on professional work. Meanwhile, globalisation, migration and changing geopolitical relationships are affect how professional services are rendered. In addition, professionals are becoming more connected across organisational, sectoral and national boundaries.
These changes have far-reaching consequences for society, for the organisations in which professionals work, and for the relationships between professional groups. Furthermore, this change affects the nature of the tasks that professionals perform, the roles they perform, and the expectations they face. This, in turn, affects which knowledge, expertise, skills and competencies they could or should possess.
During this conference, we want to emphasize changing professional services, changing tasks and roles of professionals, changing expectations and requirements, and the implications for the development of professional expertise in working life. Issues concerning the connection between work, professional development and lifelong learning are highly important in such a context.
We also want to offer space to different disciplinary perspectives on these issues, especially, but not only, disciplines that have their focus on specific professions (such as the life sciences, law, psychology, educational sciences, veterinary sciences). Furthermore, we will engage in dialogue with representatives of professional organisations about the interplay between research and professions.
The following broad questions will guide the discussion:
- How do changing social demands and social contexts influence professions, professional organisations, professional work and relations between professions?
- What factors are central in organising professional expertise and quality, in different domains?
- How do development and socialisation take place, how do professionals learn, how do they acquire relevant expertise, and how do they adapt to changing contexts?
We invite papers, both empirical and theoretical, on established and emerging professions, and concerning these or other related issues.
Abstract submission is open until May 20, 2022. Please send your proposal (maximum 250 words) to: esarn19[at] gmail.com. The conference will be on location (offline), in Utrecht. In May we will provide more definitive information about the program, against the background of the prospects and measures concerning COVID19.
CFP for ESA 2021 Barcelona Conference (31 August – 3 September) is now open – submit your abstract through ConfTool by February 15!
RN19 Sociology of Professions:
Professional Knowledge for Alternative Futures
The Barcelona Conference 2021 asks for the sociological knowledges for alternative futures in the shadow of climate change and the current global pandemic but also referring to social inequalities, violent conflicts and forced mass migration. Against this backdrop we will focus our discussion on the question of how professions and professionalism are being reconfigured and how professional knowledge may contribute to the development of alternative futures. This can take place in a broad variety of areas. On the one hand, it could directly relate to these general questions relevant to contemporary societies. On the other hand, the contribution can be more mediated with regard to several points of view: stimulation or resistance against institutional reforms in various professional fields; developing new epistemic communities within and beyond professional groups; or the establishment of new perspectives through generational changes. This might also include conflicts between persistence and change which could be observed within or between professional groups or in relation to economic, political, or social instances. We invite theoretical and empirical research on these and other questions in the realm of the sociology of professions for this discussion.
Coordinators: Christiane Schnell, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany,
Helena Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland, Finland, helena.m.hirvonen[at]uef.fi
Covid-19: The ESA 2021 Conference will take place either with the full physical co-presence of all attendees, or wholly online, or in some hybrid mode combining these two possibilities. ESA is currently working through all these permutations to make the conference happen successfully.
RN19 cfp for ESA Manchester 2019 Conference "Europe and Beyond": Too protected? Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging in the Sociology of Professions
August 20-23, 2019, Manchester Metropolitan University and The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
Coordinators: Christiane Schnell, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany, ch.schnell[at]em.unifrankfurt.de; Helena Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland and University of Jyväskylä, Finland, helena.m.hirvonen[at]uef.fi
Too protected? Boundaries, Barriers and Belonging in the Sociology of Professions
Professions are historically related to (national) welfare states, sheltering professional groups and services from market forces. From a sociological point of view the barriers and boundary work around professions have been and are considered as ambivalent. On the one hand, true or pure professionalism is understood as specialized expertise work which needs autonomy and space to manoeuvre independent from or beyond political or economic constraints. On the other hand, exclusivity may have protected professions against enhancing diversity, innovation and modernisation in general.
After fundamental structural changes in the name of new public management, professions are confronted with competitive market conditions on different levels while also actively expanding their domain beyond national welfare states. At the ESA 2019 conference we would like to strengthen the sociological understanding of these developments, in the light of the broader conceptualization and theorization of contemporary professionalism. The following questions will guide the discussion:
- How does professionalism legitimize and set distinctions under new conditions of work?
- To what extent does social closure still define professionalism?
- What kinds of persistent or novel forms of inequality – in particular related to gender differences – exist within professions and professional projects?
- How do technologies, especially digital technologies, affect protected professional fields?
- How is professional knowledge – and our idea of professional knowledge – changing?
- How are professional ethics construed in professional communities?
- How are professional identities constituted or maybe even blurred under contemporary conditions of work?
- Which new forms of professionalism arise, in teams, networks and collaborative arrangements?
We invite papers, both empirical and theoretical, on established and emerging professions, and concerning these or other related aspects and questions.
Abstract submission is open until Feb. 1, 2019. Submit your abstract through ConfTool website.
- ConfTool 2019: https://www.conftool.pro/esa2019/
- Direct link to: Conference web site
- ESA website: https://www.europeansociology.org/
ESA RN19 on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ESARN19/
RN19 Summer School for PhD students and Early career researchers
University of Aveiro, Portugal, May 16-18 2018
Please, share the cfp! Deadline for abstracts: March 25, 2018.
In the first ESA RN19 – Sociology of Professions PhD summer school the emphasis is on the theoretical views on professional groups. The purpose of the summer school is to provide an opportunity for PhD students and early career Postdocs (1-2 yrs from graduating) to present their current research and to receive comments from other students and teachers. Moreover, the purpose is to provide an opportunity to network with senior researchers and their peers in this research area. Both members and non-members of ESA are encouraged to apply!
Theoretical views will include sociological theory on professions and professional groups; changes in professionalism, hybridism, academic profession, health profession, and social work profession.
- Assistant professor Teresa Carvalho, University of Aveiro and CIPES, Portugal
- Professor Julia Evetts, University of Nottingham, UK
- Professor Mirko Noordegraaf, Utrecht University, Netherlands
- Dr. Christiane Schnell, Institute for Social Research, Germany
- Dr. Helena Hirvonen, University of Eastern Finland
Who is eligible and how to apply:
There are 20 student places in the Summer School. We warmly welcome all PhD students and early career Postdocs from European universities whose current research is related to the themes of the Summer School to apply. To apply to the Summer School, submit your abstract (1000 words) by March 25th, 2018 to the organizers at: esarn19summerschool[at] gmail.com. The abstract should include a description of the research project, phase of the research, to which University the dissertation will be delivered and name(s) of the supervisor(s). More instructions on how to prepare for the summer school will be sent to the accepted participants after March 25.
Fees and expenses:
There is no participation fee. The organizers will provide meals and refreshments during the Summer School. The participants will cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. We kindly ask you to apply only if you accept these terms of conditions and are prepared to follow the guidelines and deadlines.
For more information: