This work explores the meaning and implications of professionalism as a form of social organization. Eliot Freidson formalizes professionalism by treating it as an ideal grounded in the political ecomy; he presents it as a third logic, or as a more viable alternative to consumerism and bureaucracy. He ask us to imagine a world where workers with specialized kwledge and ability to provide society with an important service can organize and control their own work without being told what to do and when, from management or the influence of free markets. There is then an appraisal of the status of professionalism that explores how traditional and national variations in state policy and organization are influencing the power and practice of such professions as medicine and law. Freidson looks at those who are obscuring the social value of credentialism and mopolies, saying that the institutions that sustain professionalism are too useful to both capital and state to be dismissed.
Eliot Freidson is a professor emeritus of sociology at New York University and visiting professor of sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. He is the author of several books, including Professional Powers: A Study of the Institutionalization of Formal Knowledge and Professionalism Reborn: Theory, Prophecy, and Policy.