Professional Closure Beyond State Authorization


  • Gitte Sommer Harrits Aarhus University



For decades, the Weberian approach to the study of professions has been strong, emphasizing state authorization and market monopolies as constituting what is considered a profession. Originally, however, the Weberian conception of closure, or the ways in which a profession is constituted and made separate, was broader. This article suggests a revision of the closure concept, integrating insights from Pierre Bourdieu, and conceptualizing professional closure as the intersection of social, symbolic and legal closure. Based on this revision, this article demonstrates how to apply such a concept in empirical studies. This is done by exploring social, symbolic and legal closure across sixteen professional degree programs. The analyses show a tendency for some overlap between different forms of closure, with a somewhat divergent pattern for legal closure. Results support the argument that we need to study these processes as an intersection of different sources of closure, including capital, lifestyles and discourse


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How to Cite

Harrits, G. S. (2014). Professional Closure Beyond State Authorization. Professions and Professionalism, 4(1).