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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Transforming Learning Cultures in Further Education

Grant reference: L139251025

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Journal article details

Challenging dualism : public professionalism in ‘troubled’ times
In recent decades neo liberal reform has significantly impacted on public sector professionals. Sociological interest in such impact has tended to focus on the professional as a subject of such reform: as either de-professionalized ‘victims’ who feel oppressed by the structures of control or strategic operators seeking to contest the spaces and contradictions of market, managerial and audit cultures. This paper challenges such a dualism as reflective of wider separations of agency and structure that have plagued sociological thinking down the years. Adopting a relational approach to duality the paper examines the ways in which agency and structure combine both to constrain and enhance professionalism in the context of UK public services. This approach challenges modernising agendas which seek to re-professionalize or empower professionals without examining the changing conditions of their work or the neo-liberal conditions which frame their practice.
Original Document

Primary contributor

Author Denis Gleeson

Additional contributors

Co-author David Knights

Additional details

SAGE Publications
01 April 2006

Cite this outcome


Gleeson, Denis and Knights, David (2006) Challenging dualism : public professionalism in ‘troubled’ times. Sociology. 40 (2), pp. 277-295 London: SAGE Publications.


Gleeson Denis and Knights David. Challenging dualism : public professionalism in ‘troubled’ times. Sociology 2006; 40 (2): 277-295.