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You are what you eat: On social closure, boa constrictors, and professional change
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies. (Forum för professionsforskning (FPF))ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0404-8987
2015 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Metaphors are quintessentially novelty items, and as such do not age gracefully. Once productive tensions between vehicle and tenor sooner or later become stale from habituation; all natural languages contain entire petrified forests of once vivid metaphors and analogies which have receded into pseudo-literalness.  To this class belongs a concept that has long been at the core of the sociology of professions: the spatial analogy “social closure”, geschloßene Beziehungen in Max Weber’s original, has been exploited to highlight important features of inter-professional relations, upon which influential theories have been built. The success of these theoretical approaches has been accompanied by a reluctance to revisit the underlying analogy.

This essay argues the case for reconsidering the spatial analogy underlying the concept of social closure, and it does so along two lines. First, it is shown that only a portion of Weber’s elaboration of social closure was received in the sociology of professions, that attention to the original analogy is needed to rescue the remaining parts, and that these have potential value for profession research. Second, it embarks upon novel metaphorical work on the basis of Weber’s analogy, in order to capture the peculiar dynamics of professions that are defined by employment in a single institution or type of organization. Drawing on the analysis of Swedish university teachers, which approximate this pure type, we arrive at a more generally applicable model of this class of professions. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51059OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51059DiVA: diva2:913031
Conference
Professions, Bonds, and Boundaries, International Sociological Association RC 52 Conference,Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano, Italy,19-21 March 2015
Available from: 2016-03-18 Created: 2016-03-18 Last updated: 2016-04-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf