Cheney, G. & Ashcraft, K. (2007), Considering 'The Professional' in communication studies: Implications for theory and research within and beyond the boundaries of organizational communication. Communication Theory, 17(2), 146-175.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/1911
This essay positions contemporary "professionalism" as a contested term and a nexus of important theoretical and practical concerns for communication scholars, including, for example, those engaged in the empirical, interpretive, and critical examinations of culture and the self. We advance communication-based understandings of the meanings and practices of professionalism as a complement to the predominantly sociological conceptions of the rise and place of the professional in modern industrialized societies. We are deliberately playful with the term professionalism in demonstrating the power of its ambiguity for reflecting, shaping, and indexing particular kinds of social relations and expectations for them. Part of our argument concerns the complex interplay of symbolism and materiality in the domains of interaction and artifacts surrounding "the professional," and especially its embodiment in work and other settings. This brings us directly to an examination of the "intersectionality" of aspects of difference in the world of the professional (and by implication, the nonprofessional), including race, gender, and class, and to observe a broad-based cultural dialectic of the civilized and the primitive. Finally, we briefly consider extensions as relevant to domains of communication studies beyond the accustomed domain of organizational communication.
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