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The Learned

The Rise of Professionalism

The onset of the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century led to a reshuffling of status hierarchies in which the rise of professionalism played a major part. Education became an increasingly important determinant of status, and the number of professions multiplied. Professions were now becoming accessible to all—although initially only to all men—but this was strictly conditional upon formal qualifications granted by authorized educational institutions. These institutions were organized into a hierarchy, which was more or less repeated in the status hierarchy of professionals. This was true not only in the nineteenth century when professional training first began to develop, but also today.

The hierarchies of educational institutions vary in different European countries, but at the top of the hierarchy everywhere is university education and professions that require a university degree. These professions constitute the academic nobility that is destined for greatness, as Bourdieu (1996a, 103) puts it. He describes (Bourdieu 1996a, 117-19) the granting of an academic degree as a legitimate juridical act of categorization, in the same way as nobility used to be the certificate of © The Author(s) 2017

R. Jallinoja, Families, Status and Dynasties,

DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-58073-3_5

status. In this ranking system, the next tier below academic professionals is occupied by professionals who have completed their degree in lower- level educational institutions, polytechnics and colleges, which in many European countries today enjoy equal status with universities. Yet a BA degree is still considered lower in status than an MA degree. This distinction corresponds to the categorization of professionals into higher- grade and lower-grade professionals that is often used in modern class research (Goldthorpe 1980, 39-40), or into upper tertiary and lower tertiary education (Maenpaa 2015, 43). Beneath them are professions that require a shorter vocational training or upper secondary education, leading to vocational qualifications. Finally, on the lowest rung are those who have no degree; they have only completed basic-level education and they are usually categorized as unskilled workers. The new educational system accomplished the triumph of achievement over ascription, of merit and talent over heredity and nepotism, as Bourdieu (1996a, 5) describes the change that came with professionalism. In the same breath, though, he says that this perception ought to be rejected as untrue: entry into a higher-ranking profession, at least in the French context, is only possible with an appropriate family background.

The focus in the sections below is on the extent to which professions actually ran and run in the family. This is a critical question inasmuch as professions are not hereditary and therefore foreign to dynasticity, at least in principle. Secondly, I explore the efficacy of status equivalence in the marriage market of professionals. I have chosen two groups of professionals to represent the learned. I start with clerics who were the first to benefit from education at university on a larger scale. I then proceed to consider professors who, in a way, were the successors of clerics at the head of the learned. In principle at least they are—or should be—the most highly educated professionals in the sense that they are at the very top of the status hierarchy of professionals.

 
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