02 SES 10 A, Processes of Professionalisation
In the article the author analyse the implications of occupational changes on the professionalisation and professional learning, using the chefs’ vocation in Estonia as an example. For the theoretical framework we make use of the concepts of professionalization and professionalism.
In the course of historical development of occupations rather strong distinction has been made between vocations and professions, the fomer referring to the lower level occupations and manual work where the practical and tacit knowledge is important. The latter, however, has been related to the liberal occupations, like doctors and lawers, presupposing long and expensive educational preparation, involving theoretical knowledge and preparing people for self regulation. However, two tendencies have contributed for the restructuring of the occupations. First, the professionalization trend and pressure to professionalise, created by the knowledge society and thus, by the growing knowledge base of almost all occupational fields. Secondly, the standardization trend, guiding by the globalizing economy and affecting different occupational fields differently. Thirdly, contemporary knowledge societies with neoliberal climates tend to put pressure on flexibile specialization, that emphasise on consumers, cost control, performance management (Noordegraaf, 2007, 763), that leads to the integration of previous separate occupational fields like management, public relations etc into new occupations and new role profiles of previous/historical occupations. The tendencies challenge the claasical understanding of professionalism, especially ideological professionalism, developed in late 1990s. The ideological approach to professionalism empahasising on status, occupational control over the work, closure, long and high level educational preparation, involving theoretical knowledge, high status and privileges of the occupation and ideology of the (see also Freidson, Abbott etc) has challenged by the tendencies described above.
In this context, can we recognize the also the transformation of vocations to professions?
The extensive changes have risen the questions: how can we understand and describe the professionalism in such a dynamic occupational field, which status and standing in the society has risen and the representatives of the occupational group have attributed a number of new, including public, roles? Furthermore, what kind of learning patterns are characteristic to the chefs, how they acquire professional knowledge, they needed to fulfill the work related roles and how can be the core of knowledge of the occupational group conceptualised?
The theoretical framework comprises the analyse of different meanings of the concept of professionalisation and professionalism (Freidson, 2001; Evetts, 2003; Antikainen, Rinne, Koski, 2009; Noordegraaf, 2007) which can help to explain the dynamics of chef´s occupation which standing and status in society have risen rapidly? However, we need to explore/understand the substance (ideology of the occupation, control and learning patterns of the occupation to understand what kind of professionalism is characterisisng the chef´s occupation and whether we can consider the transformation of the occupation as “from vocation to profession”?
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