About Me

Find out more about me here.

06 June 2016

Problematizing Professionalism

"Professional" can a very problematic concept. It is troubling that it is bandied about so uncritically on the campus where I work. On the topic, we have regular workshops, seminars, and talks for the undergraduates. A critical examination, though, shows that “professional” is code for middle and upper class values and behaviors. Middle and upper class culture is assumed to have functional benefit, that is that presenting oneself in a "proper" or "respectful" manner will demonstrate something about one's ability to be a good employee. In fact, these beliefs about what is professional become a part of a social structure that reproduces existing inequalities. For example, “professional dress” is often stressed as integral to success; a man should wear a suit and tie, for example. However, not all people can afford such apparel or possess the cultural capital to wear it appropriately. This distinction prohibits otherwise fully qualified poor people from upward mobility.

No comments:

Post a Comment