Sanderson, Pete and Sommerlad, Hilary (2009) Values for money: learning and unlearning professionalism. In: Journal of Vocational Education and Training Eighth International Conference: Researching Vocational Education and Training, 3rd - 5th July 2009, Worcester College, Oxford, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper explores contemporary developments in the management and socialization of
professionals, in the light of debates in classical and contemporary sociology about the
nature of professions and professionalism. The starting point for the debate is Weber's
discussion of the antinomy between value rationality and calculative rationality, and the
anomaly of their co-presence in the life-world of social actors. Neo-Weberian theories of
the professions have tended to belittle the significance of value rationality to the
professional project, and this cynicism has been echoed and amplified by the dominance
of Chicago rational preference theory over government discourse. The architecture of
New Public Management contractualism is consequently predicated on a model of
professional motivation which tends to exclude the very possibility of value-based
practice. It is therefore constituted by market-based incentives and disincentives,
combined with the promotion of a 'renegotiated professionalism' which is in turn
supported by centralised models of functional training.
The paper argues, with Durkheim, for the genuine status and significance of valuerationality
as a core (if not omnipresent) feature of professional practice, using examples
drawn from secondary literature on education, and the authors' own research in the field
of publicly funded legal advice. Holloway's use of McIntyre's concept of a 'practice' is
particularly relevant in understanding the way in which values are imbued in the process
of professional learning in the workplace. The paper then identifies the way in which the
logic of contractual management can serve to steadily unpick this form of learning.

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