Profession and Professionalism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics

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Four Senses of "Profession"

In ordinary usage, profession has at least four senses. First, profession can be a mere synonym for vocation (or calling), that is, any useful activity to which one devotes (and perhaps feels called to devote) much of one's life. (If the activity were not useful, it would be a hobby rather than a vocation.) Profession in this sense has no necessary relation to income. Even a gentleman—in the now outdated sense describing someone rich enough to live comfortably without working—might have such a profession. Max Weber's "Science as a Vocation" (1901) explains how a now-bureaucratized professoriate can still be a vocation in this sense. Weber never uses the term profession.

Second, profession can be a synonym for occupation, that is, any typically full-time activity (defined by function or discipline) by which practitioners generally earn a living. In this sense...

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This section contains 2,896 words
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Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics
Profession and Professionalism from Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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