Classical approaches in sociological science, Professions...

Classical approaches in sociological science

After studying the material in this chapter, the student must:


• key personalities from the history of the sociology of professions;

• Historical conditions for the formation of theoretical concepts;

• the structure of the main approaches to the problem of professions in the theory of sociology;

be able to

• Apply theoretical approaches to solving social problems of professional activity;

• use a variety of historical facts in the analysis of theoretical concepts of professions;

• Adapt various theoretical approaches to modern research on the sociology of professions;


• the main classical theoretical approaches in the sociology of professions;

• the skills of forming requirements for occupations, claiming the status of a profession in accordance with classical approaches.

Professions in Marx's Theory

Karl Marx (1818-1883) is a great philosopher of modern times. His main work is "Capital"; known to all. But did he write about professions? Not in the context of the theory of the social division of labor or vocational qualifications, but directly? It turns out, yes. One of the earliest (if not the very first) works from the Marxist heritage is a small work on the topic "Reflections of the young man on the choice of profession." Many may object to this, that the young Marx is very different (in terms of his theoretical views) from a more mature, later Marx, etc. This is true, but for us it is important that, firstly, the first test of the pen can greatly affect the whole further professional career of the scientist or writer, depending on whether it turned out to be successful or not. And secondly, despite the fact that his legacy does not say much about the professions as such, he started with them! The text of this small work is presented in Appendix 1.

What was K. Marx's opinion about the place and role of professions in his fundamental theory? The phenomenon of the profession Marx constitutes at the intersection of the social and individual division of labor. Section 5.1 of this textbook is devoted to the social division of labor, so we will not specifically stop here. A single division of labor is considered by Marx as a division into specialties depending on the level of qualification. On the one hand, the scientist agreed that the single division of labor is a means of developing the productive forces, fixing the differentiation of labor activity as the basis for providing the socially necessary level of productivity of individual types of labor. But on the other - for the first time in history, a "partial worker", i.e., is formed. a man deprived of his integrity in labor, which is expressed in the partiality of the functions performed in the manufacture of the product and alienation from the results of his labor. In other words, a profession can exist within the social division of labor, but it breaks up into separate operations within the framework of a single (manufactory) division of labor within the workshop.

The profession, according to Marx, is only that expedient work that will create new ready-to-use use values ​​or, otherwise, a product. In this case, the concept of a product is opposed in its meaning to the notion of a commodity. In the product useful usable properties are important, and it satisfies the vital natural needs (of a person or society), initially it is not intended for market exchange. The product becomes a commodity as a result of exchange only in the conditions of manufactory, and then large-scale industrial production in a capitalist society. Thus, according to Marx, professions and professional activity existed in their entirety before the appearance of manufactory production. An individual product as a result of an independent labor of an artisan performing many operations is a professional work.

Professional work is a useful work, it is formed on the basis of human needs and is an independent link in the social division of labor. A profession is the mediating link between what nature provides and human needs. So, the coat, which the tailor makes, appeared as a result of the forced need for clothing, "a man has portrayed whole millennia before he became a tailor from a man." But a frock coat, a fabric from which it is sewn, or any other thing (an element of material wealth, according to Marx), which is not in nature ready-made, is created by a special expedient productive activity, i.e. professional.

In its manufacturing process, products are simple and complex. For the manufacture of simple products, only one master and one or two apprentices can be required: the herder produces skins, the tanner turns them into leather, the shoemaker turns the leather into boots. In this case, each produces here only a semi-finished product, and the final finished object is a combined product of these individual works. Here are joined the various branches of labor that deliver the means of production to the pastoralist, tanner and shoemaker.

As a complex product, Marx gives an example of the manufacture of a carriage in a medieval craft workshop. He writes that originally the coach was the common product of a large number of independent craftsmen (a waggon, a saddler, a tailor, a locksmith, a copper worker, a turner, a dummier, a glazier, a painter, a varnisher, a gilding machine, etc. ). Each of these workers produced some special product, which, when combined with others, constituted the final product - the carriage. We see here that every worker has the results of his work in their integrity, he sees the end result of his labor and the result of the aggregate labor. It is also important that each of the listed craftsmen could be engaged not only in the manufacture of their product for the creation of a coach, but in any other activity within the framework of their professional specialization: the TV worker could make and repair carts of different sizes and purposes; saddler - to make not only blinders for horses, but also was a specialist in horse harness, etc. Their work was rich and varied in content within a certain craft.

The given example with the coach is a form of simple cooperation even before the emergence of a developed division of labor. What changes when the manufactory division of labor occurs? The carriage manufactory begins to unite all these different artisans in the same workshop, where they work simultaneously and in interaction with each other. The process of complicating joint manufacturing labor develops gradually: "... the carriage can not be gilded earlier than it is made. But if many carriages are produced simultaneously, then some of them can be continuously gilded, while the other part passes through earlier phases of the production process. " Gradually, if the production of carriages occurs constantly in time, then the tailor, fitter, mechanic, trolley, saddler, etc. begin to engage in only coach business. Gradually the craftsman loses his skills and ability to do his craft in the former larger scope. However, as Marx writes, such one-sided activity within this narrow sphere acquires the most appropriate forms, which in their developed form take the form of the market expediency of the product produced for sale (and not the product).

Consequently, the movement comes from the coach factory as a simple combination of independent crafts to a set of special partial operations as the exclusive function of one particular worker. In the same way there are cloth, silk and other manufactories.

But the disappearance of professional craftsmanship can occur in a different way. Artisans produce a fairly simple product (Marx's example: making paper, font or needles) by performing all operations with a minimum number of assistants. Under the general guidance, they combine in one workshop to produce more goods in less time.

Their work is divided: "Instead of entrusting one and the same artisan with the successive execution of various operations, these operations are separated from each other, isolated, located in the space one next to the other, each assigned to a separate artisan, and all they are simultaneously performed by cooperating workers. This random division repeats itself, reveals its inherent advantages and gradually crystallizes into a systematic division of labor. From the individual product of an independent craftsman who performs many operations, the product becomes a public product of the craftsmen's union, each of which performs continuously only the same partial operation. " There is a paper industry in which the decomposition of the production process into separate phases coincides with the decomposition of integral professional craft activity into its various partial operations. Here the partial worker produces a partial product that does not possess either value or utility, only the total aggregate the product of workers of one manufactory (production) becomes a commodity. Therefore, one can speak about professional activity only if it is a question of the total worker producing the final finished product.

Thus, according to Marx, professional work is the work of an artisan in his workshop. In order to distinguish the profession from the performance of a partial function, Marx proposes two conditions:

1) the absence of alienation of the results of labor from the worker (as Marx put it, "the existence of products as goods"), i.e. the production of the final product (thing) in its material expression in order to satisfy any need;

2) the lack of division of labor into partial operations within the enterprise.

As an additional argument, he says that up to the XVIII century. separate crafts were called mysteries (mysteries), in the depths of which only empirically and professionally dedicated could penetrate.

In machine-building conditions, the situation does not improve, but, on the contrary, worsens, as the worker now serves the machine: "Machine work, to the extreme, seizing the nervous system, suppresses the multifaceted muscle play and deprives a person of any possibility of free physical and spiritual activity . Even the facilitation of labor becomes a means of torture, because the machine frees not the worker from work, but his work from all content. "

To. Marx categorically opposed the consolidation of a certain partial working function for a person for life. He wrote: "The nature of large-scale industry presupposes a constant movement of the worker ... every five years it is necessary to master a new profession". It should be noted that the experience of developed countries in many ways confirmed these ideas of K. Marx in the second half of the 20th century, even the term "continuous professional education" appeared. The most important idea, which is invisibly present in all the works of Marx and is a red thread through his theory, is the idea of ​​a "harmoniously developed person". This idea can be called an ideal that is unattainable in modern capitalist society, but which must necessarily be realized in the future. What, according to K. Marx, is a harmoniously developed person? He is understood as an employee who realizes his need (ancestral essence) in labor due to the existence of integral professional activity in all its diversity and richness. He is able to develop in his profession and master new areas of activity. This is how a multi-faceted harmonious person becomes aware of his place in the world. Marx noted that the main result of labor are the goods produced, and the person himself in his social relations. Moreover, this kind of development of a person in work is not done by any work, but only by one that allows one to maximally reveal and develop the talents inherent in each person. Only if it is possible to carry out harmonious development, understood as successive forms of work activity, it will not turn into a narrow specialist, limited only by the scope of his activity, in the "professional cretin" (or in the "professional idiot"), as K. Marx narrowly and figuratively characterized the narrow specialists.

It can be concluded that the worker is deprived of any kind of professional affiliation in capitalist society. However, considering the problem of the professionalization of labor, which, as has been shown, is closely related to the reproduction of capital, Marx speaks of the removal (disappearance) of this problem, which opens up the possibility of the professionalization of labor. "Withdrawal of labor in its immediate form", according to K. Marx, is associated with an increasing level of development of science and technology and means that production no longer obeys the demand for capital increase, its goal is the creation of real wealth, universal productivity of the employee instead of partial with developed needs . Thus, the workers, as it were, master the production process, they become above it. Since science is no longer subordinated to capital, but promotes universal productivity, so long as workers within production can influence the co-operation of human activity, regulate it. Such associated producers will be in a new working environment in which professionalization of workers is already possible.

Did Marx consider other types of professional work? Since, as we know, he did not analyze professions and professional work directly, we can find some references to professions mediated. So, in the first volume of "Capital" he writes about the incomes of lawyers, doctors, scientists, etc., calling them a professional profit. Marx notes that these professionals act as agents of the reproduction of the capitalist class structure. At the same time, the incomes of officials, officers, persons having a state sinecure, he separates from the first. This gives grounds to make the assumption that the classes provided by the state service, he does not refer to professional activities. The labor of professionals in the service sector is wage labor.

In this connection, K. Marx's view on the interrelation of the activities of professionals and the production of surplus value is interesting. Although he does not give an unambiguous answer, but, on the one hand, he regards the engineer's work as a kind of intellectual wage labor and as part of the aggregate labor of an enterprise that is subject to the reproduction of capital underlying the capitalist mode of material reproduction. With another - when analyzing the relationship between professionals and clients, one can not speak of a specific relationship between labor and capital, since their activities are related to the provision of services.

The scientist's opinion

With regard to professionals and clients, Marx develops a different point of view than representatives of theories of productive labor. When asked whether the activity of professionals determines the production of surplus value and whether, accordingly, the exchange of their activities is linked to the transformation of money into capital, Marx answers that if the activity of professionals is related to the provision of services, then one can not speak of a specific relation of labor and capital. The relationship between professionals and clients in this case is not subject to the logic of capital reproduction. Rendering services is a personal relationship between the client and the professional, in which both are recognized as autonomous entities. In contrast to materialized relations, this attitude presupposes good will on both sides. The professional relationship of cooperation is of a personal nature, but not in the sense of a relationship of personal dependence, not in the sense of a family relationship.

In the case of a professional work in the provision of services, it is (as opposed to labor, which produces surplus value) an intangible result. With the objectified nature of labor, Marx associates the possibility of calculating the costs necessary for production. Professional action in the form of personal services is deprived, according to Marx, of the modus of calculus.

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