Professions and Metaphors : Understanding professions in society book cover
1st Edition

Professions and Metaphors
Understanding professions in society

ISBN 9780367874452
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
186 Pages

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Book Description

Professions and Metaphors: Understanding Professions in Society explores the way that two traditions have contributed to our understanding of both theory and society over recent decades. In the first tradition, the growing literature on metaphors has helped to guide thinking, providing insights into such phenomena as the study of organizations. In the second, there has been an increased interest in professions, from lawyers and university academics to doctors and social workers.

This edited collection brings together these two traditions for the first time, providing a unique and systematic overview, at macro and micro level, of the use of metaphors in the sociology of professions. A range of professional fields are explored, from law and medicine to social work and teaching, showing how metaphors can enhance our understanding of the operation of professional groups.

By demonstrating how metaphors can add to our understanding of professions in society, as well as in professional practice, this ground-breaking book makes an invaluable contribution to advanced students and researchers in fields such as the sociology of professions and work and organization – as well as informing professionals and policy makers themselves.

Table of Contents

1. Introducing Professions and Metaphors (A. Liljegren and M. Saks)  2. Key Metaphors in the Sociology of Professions: Occupations as Hierarchies and Landscapes (A. Liljegren)  3. The Ecological Metaphor in the Sociology of Occupations and Professions (R. Dingwall)  4. Slaying the Minotaur: Reflections on the Sociology of the Professions (M. Saks)  5. Social Closure: On Metaphors, Professions and a Boa Constrictor (O. Agevall)  6. Regulating the English Health Professions: Zoos, Circuses or Safari Parks? (M. Saks)  7. Boundaries of Social Work or Social Work of Boundaries? (A. Abbott)  8. Gender and Law and the Metaphor of Justice-As-A-Woman: An Evolutionary Socio-Legal Perspective (V. Olgiati)  9. Engineering the Soul: Construction and Sacrifice in the Teaching Profession (L. Jin and M. Cortazzi)  10. Metaphors We Help By: Socio-Cognitive Patterns of Professionals in Social Work (R. Schmitt)  11. Metaphors in Medical Practice: A Jurisdictional Tool (I. Pedersen)

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Andreas Liljegren is Associate Professor in Social Work in the Department of Social Work at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Mike Saks is Research Professor at University Campus Suffolk, UK, and holds various Visiting Chairs.


‘This timely and engaging contribution extends the metaphor approach, which has been used to great effect in economics, law and organizational theory, to the study of professional occupations. The results are extremely insightful as this book, through the visual power of metaphors, casts new light on a series of key debates within the sociology of the professions.’ - Daniel Muzio, Professor Professions and Organization, University of Newcastle, UK

‘Liljegren and Saks are to be congratulated in bringing together a fine edited collection of new and published pieces on the role of metaphors in understanding professions. This novel focus should appeal to those interested in the professions generally and in particular professions such as medicine, education and social work.’ - Professor Jonathan Gabe, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK