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Title: A Bourdieusian lens onto professions : a case study of architecture
Author: Sahin-Dikmen, Melahat
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2013
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This study explores the potential of Bourdieu’s sociology for re-orienting the sociology of professions. Despite differences in methodology and theoretical priorities, neither classical theories nor the contemporary studies completely break with the view that professions are autonomous and elite occupational groups driven by the common objective of achieving monopoly over given service markets. This unifying and externally oppositional view does not provide an adequate framework for understanding the internal dynamics or the embeddedness of professional areas of practice within the social world. This study argues that Bourdieu’s sociology could help address some of these difficulties by enabling us to re-define professions as historically constituted, semi-autonomous fields structured around struggles over specific capitals that are instrumental both in their specific production and in internal struggles over authority and power. An examination of architecture as a case study suggests that the architectural profession can be thought of as a field driven by the ideals of design originality and a field ridden with permanent conflicts between its autonomous ideals and external demands, between creative and symbolic capital on the one hand and technical-managerial capital on the other, and between the competing narratives of its realities. The architectural field is divided and its dominant representation is contested, but architects are also united by their shared experiences and belief in architectural ideals. The study gives us an insight into the architectural universe and suggests that a field approach yields an understanding of its complexities not permitted by the notion of profession. However, as an exploratory investigation based on in-depth interviews, this is a first step in instigating a field mode of thinking on professions and needs to be supplemented with further research on architecture and the applications of the field concept to other professions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available