Occupational control in the development of the veterinary profession : a study in the sociology of professions : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of M.A. (Soc.Sc.) in Sociology at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study examines the development of the veterinary profession from the theoretical perspective of the sociology of professions. In the initial chapter the three major analytic approaches in this field are discussed: trait, professionalisation and occupational control. It is argued that these approaches successively provide greater insight into the nature of professions and professionalism; and the following chapters proceed to a socio­-historical analysis of the veterinary profession in order to make an assessment of this arguement. In chapter two the most influential of the processual approaches: Wilensky's model of professionalisation, is applied in a limited comparative framework to the emergence of the veterinary profession. Since it offers only a partial causal explanation of occupational change it is seen to represent a half-way stage between trait and occupational control perspectives. In the next two chapters the third theoretical approach is taken up using Johnson's typology of occupational power to consider occupational change specifically in the development of the New Zealand veterinary profession. Chapter three covers the first two phases up to the 1930's and makes use of the idea of government patronage. Chapter four continues this analysis by tracing the development of the veterinary club system from the late 1930's. The concepts of state mediation and professional heteronomy are used to analyse changes in the veterinary profession during this period. The final chapter recapitulates the course of the argument. There is a major degree of support for the-occupational control approach which treats professionalism as only one of several possible institutionalised variations in the distribution of occupational power. In the case of the veterinary profession, this is by far the most productive (theoretical approach in accounting for differences within the profession in a variety geographical settings and historical periods. It is then suggested that Johnson's typology might be extended in the light of the present study, by adding a fourth type to the three main forms of occupational control Johnson has already proposed.