Dissertation Abstracts

Transformation of professions: Doctors and lawyers

Author: Elyesa Koytak, elyesa.koytak@medeniyet.edu.tr
Department: Sociology
University: Istanbul Medeniyet University, Turkey
Supervisor: Lütfi Sunar
Year of completion: 2022
Language of dissertation: Turkish

Keywords: Doctors , Lawyers , Professions , Stratification
Areas of Research: Professional Groups , Stratification , Work


This research is a sociological study of medical and legal professions in the context of the current transformation of labor in Turkey. Two professions, which corresponded to a gainful and privileged social position in terms of income, status and authority until the 2000s, witness a demographic growth on the one hand, and erode in terms of social mobility on the other. In this research, the grounded theory approach is adopted. In-depth interviews are conducted with 19 doctors and 18 lawyers from different seniorities and positions. Memo notes, guide texts and supplementary resources are also used in a cross and simultaneous manner during the coding stages of the interview data. Quantitative data sets from national and international sources on the macro dynamics of the transformation are also included in the analysis. In the historical context, the advantageous social position of the professions has been structured in close contact with the state and the education capital since the 19th century. In the main chapters on the current transformation of the two professions, respectively, 1) the construction of dispositions and the relationship with the profession; 2) forms of practice, relations and capital as specific structures of the profession; 3) the new determinations of the labor regime and the differentiation of positions are examined. The transformation of the medical profession is explained with the concept of professional pressure, whereas the transformation of the legal profession is explained with the concept of professional dissolution. In addition to this, the concepts of professional tunnel, professional knot, asymmetric and permeable structures, anomic and heteronomic dimensions of the field, office capital and professional mood are constructed. The experience of the new generation of doctors and lawyers in the context of demographic growth, waged labor and stratification is shaped by the cumulative effects of the current transformation. As the traditional images and promises of professions in terms of status and social mobility face the burdens of current transformation, new generations have to witness the cracking of the old mirrors of the profession in their own reflections.