Professionalism: the Third Logic

“…The ideology of managerialism presents a rather different basis for resistance to specialised knowledge and skill – the celebration of what can be called ‘Elite Generalism’. Like populist generalism, it does not defer to the authority of specialized knowledge, instead claiming authority over it. However, it goes beyond populist generalism by claiming the authority to command, organize, guide and supervise both the choices of consumers and the productive work of specialists.

It denies authority to expertise by claiming a form of general knowledge that is superior to specialization because it can organize it rationally and efficiently. Unlike populist generalism, it does not claim merely ordinary human qualities informed by everyday knowledge and skill and the capacity to learn whatever is necessary to make economic or political decisions.

Rather, even when it eschews the common claim of elites that they are endowed with superior qualities by virtue of lineage, innate ability, or character, it can fall back on its own special kind of preparation for positions of leadership – an advanced but general formal education that equips them to direct or lead specialists, consumers and citizens.

For ‘Monopoly’, ‘Credentialism’ and ‘Elitism’ are the key elements of professionalism’s economic privilege:

Monopoly – without boundaries, nothing that could be appropriately called even an occupation, let alone a formal discipline, could exist. Those boundaries create a mutually reinforcing ‘social’ shelter within which a formal body of knowledge and skill can develop, be nourished, practiced, refined, and expanded. They create a social environment within which there can be a great deal of disagreement and debate, but which nonetheless establishes a pale outside of which stand both different disciplinary communities and the public at large.

Credentialism – those who have effective command over a defined body of knowledge and skill, so that some method must be used to determine qualifications for admission and the right to practice. The characteristic method of selection for professionalism is the training credential. Its possession earns both inclusion in the ranks of the elect and exclusive right to practices or jobs requiring a defined set of skills.

Elitism – professionalism argues the expertise properly warrants special influence in certain affairs because it is based on sustained systematic thought, investigation, or experiment, and in the case of individuals, accumulated experience performing specialised work for which they had long and appropriate training…”

Extracted from: Professionalism: The Third Logic by Eliot Freidson, published by Polity, ISBN: 978-0-7456-0331-5


I will mention the benefit in taking time with ones appearance, which consists partly of others visually viewing your professional standards, that is, in the moment, which equates to a healthy respect even if grudgingly given, if one looks professional at the very least, and that still counts in society and in the work environment, because until further meetings take place, they won’t know what else can be offered in an exchange of mutual services until they know truely you have a professionalism mindset.

For example, when I was in my very first profession, as a fully trained and qualified secretary, as well as in my second profession, that was as a trainee manager, (and that’s the stage at which I left my career at by the way) meant for reasons of professionalism, one had always to be presentable to clients and the general public. Even though I wore mostly suits, I made sure I brought those that were of the unusual, that is, in their detailing, and the colour I wore weren’t only of black, greys, browns or navy, but also I had other suits of bold reds, emerald green, beige and purple in colour too, for it all came together in the tailoring, and the rest of me, to emit an air of authoritative confidence.   

And it was important as I represented not only myself, my work but also the company and therefore being seen as professional and behaving as such in the presence of others when that environment of work because I literally embodied a persona of having an impeccable business conduct during that time at work.

And, I would say, that the general benefit of the impression given by my appearance, is my being generally known as a woman, who most of the time, had and still manages to, have an appearance that matches, and much of the time, compliments her personality, that is, without the need for anyone to assess the contrasts between moods and emotions through the analysis of clothes only for a character profile.

Hence, I’m fully aware of both my personality and character traits. As the ‘personality’ are the surface portaits of a person (usually the first impression), and ‘character traits’ which are the deeper nutshells of a person (usually the very last impression). And this insight of both these aspects of myself was gained through the experience of ‘life reflection’, that is, periodically I’d assess this aspect of myself and make note of whether they were still aligned within and outside of myself. 


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