Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012

Research Committee on
Sociology of Professional Groups, RC52

  on-line programme

Programme Coordinator

Mike SAKS, University Campus Suffolk, United Kingdom,

RC52 Liaison in Argentina
Gabriela Plotno, Becaria CONICET,

Volunteer at the venue
Mariano Uliczki,


All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.


provisional as of March 15, 2012, in alphabetical order


Environmental issues

The increasing importance of environment issues favours the emergence of diverse professional groups specialised in the treatment of such problems as the management of energy, of natural resources and of waste, or the prevention and fight against nuisances and environmental risks. It also leads to transformations in existing occupations by introducing new preoccupations, constraints or dimensions of the activity, which redefine sometimes in depth the professional identities and arouse changes in the configuration of segments inside the occupations or in the relationship between nearby occupations within ‘linked ecologies’. Besides, access to energy and to environmental resources is generative of privileges and exclusions, the importance of which is increasing in the world, and out of which professional groups cannot remain. Thus, there are grounds for wondering about the role of professionals in the production and escalation of these disparities, or on the contrary initiatives to regulate or fight them. This session aims at collecting case studies of these professional dynamics bound to the environment issues to organise the discussion and favours a cumulative approach.

La montée en puissance de la thématique de l’environnement favorise l’émergence de divers groupes professionnels spécialisés dans le traitement des problèmes de gestion de l’énergie, des ressources naturelles, des déchets, la prévention et la lutte contre les nuisances et les risques environnementaux. Elle induit également des transformations dans les métiers existants en introduisant des préoccupations, des contraintes ou dimensions nouvelles de l’activité, qui redéfinissent parfois en profondeur les identités professionnelles et suscitent des changements dans la configuration des segments à l’intérieur des professions ou des relations entre professions voisines au sein des « écologies liées ». Par ailleurs, l’accès à l’énergie et aux ressources environnementales est générateur de privilèges et exclusions, dont l’importance est croissante dans le monde, et auxquels les groupes professionnels ne peuvent rester extérieurs. Il y a donc lieu de se demander quel est le rôle des professionnels dans la production, l’aggravation de ces inégalités, ou au contraire dans les initiatives visant à les réguler ou les combattre. Cette session vise à recueillir des études de cas de ces dynamiques professionnelles liées à l’environnement pour organiser la discussion et favoriser une approche cumulative.


Globalisation and its impacts on professions and organisations

Joint session of RC17 Sociology of Organizations [host committee] and RC52 Sociology of Professional Groups
Globalisation has certainly exercised a deep impact on professional occupations, organisations and their work. The rise of the global professional service firm (GPSF), employing thousands of professionals in dozens of jurisdiction and generating multi-million pound profits, is one of the most notable expressions of this. Another important example is the emergence of broadly similar models of organising the public sector and the professions, like the ‘new public management’ paradigm. At the same time, professions have played a growing role in facilitating processes of economic globalisation providing the knowledge, systems and practices that may support global capitalism but also local elites.

Particularly interesting here has been the active role played by professional organisations and occupations in lobbying for regulatory changes in the way that markets are structured and business is conducted within developing economies. Professions are also driving public sector reforms that are modelled upon global concepts of modernisation attempting to improve social justice and democratisation. This session seeks to draw our attention to a number of key issues relating to the remodelling of professional occupations and organisations through the lens of globalisation.


In-between fragmentation and new identities: Professional socialisation within established and emerging fields of professionalism. Part I


In-between fragmentation and new identities: Professional socialisation within established and emerging fields of professionalism. Part II


Professional competence and careers

Prognoses indicate that there will be a significant shortage of qualified staff for the welfare state professions in many countries because of increased demands and significant substitution needs due to an ageing workforce. These demands for skilled manpower also have qualitative aspects: competencies acquired during initial education have to match labour market requirements. Initial education programs are criticised for lack of quality as well as relevance for future professional work. On the one hand, graduates from professional programmes are confronted by an increased demand for evidence-based knowledge.

On the other hand, they are criticised for lacking practical knowledge and skills. The uneasy balance and relationship between general and academic knowledge and vocational practical knowledge and skills affect the need for qualifying sufficient number of these professionals as well as the development of their qualifications. Moreover, recruitment has also a regional as well as a global dimension.

The session addresses two main issues: first, recruitment and retention in pre-service education and professional careers across professions and, second, how pre-service programmes and practical experience qualify for professional work. The interconnectedness between these two issues will also be explored.


Professional governance and health human resource management: The challenges of equality, diversity and inclusion. Part I

Joint session of RC15 Sociology of Health and RC52 Sociology of Professional Groups [host committee]
The professions are the backbone of the healthcare system and key to sustainable healthcare services for all citizens. Yet the governance of the professional workforce faces a number of challenges. On top of this, shortage and inefficient use of health human resources together with changes in the composition of the professional workforce by age, gender and citizenship create an urgent need for policy interventions. Within this scenario the health professions gain significance not only as an `object` and problem of governance, but also as a source of innovation and a facilitator of change in the healthcare sector.

This session brings together two strands of the debates: the governance of the health professional workforce and the management, planning and policy of health human resources. We seek to explore, among other things, whether and how a more diverse and integrated professional workforce, including gender equality, may contribute to more sustainable healthcare services that, in turn, improve social justice.


Professional governance and health human resource management: The challenges of equality, diversity and inclusion. Part II

Joint session of RC15 Sociology of Health [host committee] and RC52 Sociology of Professional Groups


Professions and democracy. Part I


Professions and Democracy. Part II


RC52 Business Meeting


Science, innovation and professional development


Teachers and teaching of social sciences in Latin America

The class teacher has gone through an intense process of transformation in Latin America, including a process of proletarianisation of their work to the detriment of the intellectual sphere. This process has been accelerated and impacted by the globalisation and the transformations of labour relations, in the field of public policy and in nation states. In this sense, there has been a great contribution by the sociology of education in thinking about such issues, even if the sociology of professions has not followed the same debate.

At the same time it intensifies the debate over the teaching of social sciences in Latin America, both in universities and schools. Social science professors put themselves in the dubious position of being professors and social scientists at the same time; while having the epistemological privilege of examining the condition of teaching in the workplace, they put themselves under a condition that presents a significant limitation to their theoretical and methodological thinking.

This session discusses the reality of the teachers and teaching of social sciences in Latin America, both with respect to those who work in universities and to those who work in schools, seeking to examine how they articulate intellectual ideas and the work sphere in this profession.


Theoretical challenges for professions and professionalism:Social justice, democratisation and transformative change. Part II


Theoretical challenges for professions and professionalism:Social justice, democratisation and transformative change. PartI




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International Sociological Association
November 2012