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Just a Job?Communication, Ethics, and Professional Life$
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George Cheney, Dan Lair, Dean Ritz, and Brenden Kendall

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182774.001.0001

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Being a Professional: Problems and Promises

Being a Professional: Problems and Promises

(p.123) 4 Being a Professional: Problems and Promises
Just a Job?

George Cheney (Contributor Webpage)

Daniel J. Lair

Dean Ritz

Brenden E. Kendall

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses the domain of the professional, taking seriously the notion that the professional is personal, in addition to being social, political, and ethical. The chapter traces the development of modern professional classes, particularly as they implicate individual and collective moral practice. In certain ways, formal professions have the capacity to elevate moral practice and create barriers to ethical visions. This chapter considers the various sides of professional life, takes a second look at its ethical claims, and exposes some of the problems with what we usually think of as an unmitigated positive force in society; that is, professionalism. As part of this evaluation, the chapter probes issues of professional style and examines the categories into which individuals and whole segments of society are divided. The chapter concludes with a call to reconsider the meaning of “career.”

Keywords:   Calling, Career, Class, Division of labor, Emile Durkheim, Ethics, Expertise, Professionalism, Specialization, Style

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