The Starting Point of a Long Journey

Bin Wu ’15

To begin with my thesis research, I am thinking about some basic concepts for my thesis topic. The starting point is Professionalism. What is Professionalism? Is museum work in a state of complete professionalization? I have got some reference from J. Lynne Teather. She has listed some useful points that sociologist have accepted for assessing professionalism:

  1. a cultural tradition which is the basis of the knowledge and expertise of the occupation;
  2. formal, academically based technical training and/or apprenticeship which ensures mastery of the cultural tradition and any skills derived from that;
  3. institutionalized modes for ensuring competency and governing the practice of the profession, including a code of ethics;
  4. the development of a professional social structure and culture — the growth of associations pertaining to the occupation with a system of communication and publication;
  5. exclusive jurisdiction over the applications of occupational knowledge and expertise;
  6. public validation of the right of the occupation to sole jurisdiction and of values relating to the cultural tradition of the occupation.
Teather made a further statement with regard to the criteria that “museum work is still in a astute of incomplete professionalization, what sociologists term a ‘semi’-or ‘pseudo’-profession, as is the case for social work and librarianship, because the museum field suffers from contradictory pressures, some pushing towards professionalization, others preventing it.  “(Teather, 26)