Professionalization and Professionalism: the Case of Italian Dentistry

  • Giovanna Vicarelli Università Politecnica delle Marche
  • Elena Spina Università Politecnica delle Marche


The aim of this article is to reconstruct the process of professionalization of Italian dentists and the profession’s current configuration. It is based on three lines of inquiry. The first line adopts a historical perspective through the analysis of legislation that has regulated the dental sector over time. The second line depicts the current configuration of the profession through institutional and sectoral statistics. The third line focuses on the impact of the 2008 economic crisis, using the main findings of a survey conducted among the profession’s representatives. The economic crisis has exacerbated the profession’s structural weaknesses caused by the difficulties associated with self-regulation and by organizational–managerial inefficiency. Given this situation, one may inquire as to the actual professional nature of dentistry in Italy: It is not pointless to ask whether—and, if so, what type of—professionalism exists in dentistry in Italy today.

Keywords: Italian dental profession, professionalization, professionalism, economic crisis, occupational change.


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How to Cite
Vicarelli, G., & Spina, E. (2015). Professionalization and Professionalism: the Case of Italian Dentistry. Professions and Professionalism, 5(3).