Politics and the professions in a time of crisis

Crawford Spence, Georgios Voulgaris, Mairi Maclean

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Class analysis has undergone a ‘cultural turn’ in recent years, driven most notably by the growing influence of the work of Pierre Bourdieu. We seek to connect this perspective with organization studies via an analysis of the political, economic and cultural cleavages that exist within a sample of professionals, managers and executives – summarily, the UK professional class. The results show that significant cleavages exist within the UK professional class in terms of economic and cultural capital composition and political dispositions. However, the most significant differences observable are not related to classic materialist ‘left’ and ‘right’ perspectives as recent research elsewhere suggests, but on more epiphenomenal issues such as immigration, equal rights and the environment. In an era where the professions find themselves in crisis (Leicht, 2016), the results imply that professional groups should take politics more seriously and actively articulate how professional expertise can contribute to the common good.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-281
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Professions and Organization
Issue number3
Early online date14 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • professional class; Multiple Correspondence Analysis; Bourdieu; political dispositions; UK; expertise


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