Social Closure and Veterinary Professionalization in Britain: A Self-Interested or Public Interested Endeavour?

Abstract

The professionalization of veterinary medicine in Britain has been little studied by social scientists, although as a classic instance of an occupation that has achieved exclusionary social closure it merits examination from a neo-Weberian perspective. Therefore, this paper explores how it has attained this position through state action in an historical and contemporary context using neo-Weberianism as a theoretical lens. In charting the different stages and forms of professional regulation in veterinary medicine, group self-interest is identified as a central driver, following the neo-Weberian idiom. However, contrary to the position adopted by some neo-Weberians, the professionalization process is seen as being more complex than simply being interest-based, with the public interest being upheld. As such, through the case of veterinary medicine, it is claimed professional self-interests and the public interest can be co-terminous and mutually achieve a dynamic equilibrium.  They do not have to form part of a zero-sum game. 

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Author Biographies

Stephen A May

Professor, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK

Mike Saks

Emeritus Professor at University of Suffolk, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of Lincoln and Royal Veterinary College, University of London, UK, and the University of Toronto, Canada

Published
2020-03-09
How to Cite
Whiting, M., May, S. A., & Saks, M. (2020). Social Closure and Veterinary Professionalization in Britain: A Self-Interested or Public Interested Endeavour?. Professions and Professionalism, 9(3). https://doi.org/10.7577/pp.3321