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Professionalism, the Third Logic: On the Practice of Knowledge 1st Edition

3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226262031
ISBN-10: 9780226262031
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This work is the capstone of Eliot Freidsona s extraordinarily distinguished career as a medical sociologist and student of the professions. The book summarizes a wide range of literature within Freidsona s innovative and profound theory of professionalism as a "logic" of institutions different from (and in conflict with) the logics of the market and of bureaucracy. It should be required reading for anyone concerned with the vital issue of the importance of -- and contemporary threats to -- the social values intrinsic to professionalism." Robert Alford, City University of New York "As learned and tightly argued as any work in the Weberian tradition, this book develops an ideal--type analysis of professionalism that transcends the particular circumstances of specific occupations. Freidsona s distinctions between professions, technical occupations and crafts are likely to inform all subsequent discussions. Everyone who studies the professions will need to take this important book into account." Steven Brint, University of California, Riverside --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Inside Flap

This new work explores the meaning and implications of professionalism as a form of social organization. Eliot Freidson formalizes professionalism by treating it as an ideal type grounded in the political economy; he presents the concept as a third logic, or a more viable alternative to consumerism and bureaucracy. He asks us to imagine a world where workers with specialized knowledge and the ability to provide society with especially important services can organize and control their own work, without directives from management or the influence of free markets.

Freidson then appraises the present status of professionalism, exploring how traditional and national variations in state policy and organization are influencing the power and practice of such professions as medicine and law. Widespread attacks by neoclassical economists and populists, he contends, are obscuring the social value of credentialism and monopolies. The institutions that sustain professionalism in our world are simply too useful to both capital and state to dismiss.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; 1 edition (June 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780226262031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226262031
  • ASIN: 0226262030
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #825,988 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
I cannot speak fairly of the rest of Friedson's work, so perhaps this book is received differently by those who are familiar with his oeuvre. That being said, there is nothing in this book that justifies its length. Its subject matter could have been soundly dealt with in an article-length piece.
Friedson's ambition is to establish a presence in the scholarly field for the study of ideotypical Professionalism (as practice, ethos, and so on) alongside free-market economic organization and bureaucratic organization. He compares and contrasts differenct aspects of each, focusing on labor markets, careers, claims to bodies of knowledge, and contemporary contests. The analysis attempts to be comprehensive, but sacrifices specificity as well as liveliness in that respect. Not only is Friedson limited by his ambiguous use of the Weberian methodological ideal type (you get the feeling he is switching back and forth, but you can't quite place when), his lack of sharp insights makes this something of a dull read.
Perhaps, again, this is an unfair judgment, as I have not read the rest of his work. But for me, it seemed a shame that a book with such bold ambitions, even standing on the shoulders of a giant like Weber, could only come up with a handful of mediocre insights. The next generation of sociologists studying the professions will, I hope, be able to incorporate more contemporary theories and data and give us the analyses and perspectives that this book could and should have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Following the Weberian tradition, Freidson contrasts the professions with the competitive market and the bureaucratic institution as ideal types. This is an interesting task and should take about twenty pages, not a whole book. The interesting observation, however, is that in modern economies, the three are not alternatives, but rather are complementary. For instance, physicians (professionals) work in hospitals (bureaucracies) whose success depends on attracting patients (the competitive market). The interesting question, not addressed in this book, is the conditions under which professionalism can be maintained and expanded, even in the context of markets and competitive bureaucratic institutions. Answering this question requires using sophisticated analytical tools from economic theory (e.g., game theory and principal agent models) as well as anthropological skills used in investigating the characteristics of professional activities. Friedson is capable of neither.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This text is very complete and thorough. Freidson has an organized approach which leads one to an understanding of how a Profession competes with government and business in an unbalanced manner. He illustrates the values of a Profession contrasted to a trade for the benefits of society. The competing entities to Professionalism have strengths and momentum that are not part of the Profession's, ex. Medicine,character. Thereby, of the three logics, Professions are not likely to maintain their position in the advancing progression of our culture.
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Priced right. Quality as advertised. Eliot Freidson doesn't write page-turners, but if you spend time thinking about professionalism he's required reading.
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Professionalism, the Third Logic: On the Practice of Knowledge
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