XWe have detected your location as outside the U.S/Canada, if you think this is wrong, you can choose your location.

Palgrave Macmillan

America's Culture of Professionalism

Past, Present, and Prospects

ISBN 9781137341914
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The culture of professionalism has become so dominant in American life that, ironically, it has become invisible to most people. Professionalism has become something of an ideology, beyond the realm of rethinking, and 'acting professionally' has become an unquestioned standard of conduct. This book seeks to make visible such a culture that deserves serious reconsideration by researchers, professors, students, and educated general readers. Brown's research and examination in America's Culture of Professionalism covers both the academic world – the 'home office' of professionalism – and the social dimensions of problem solving in the public world.

David Warfield Brown has experienced the professional world from several vantage points: as a lawyer on Wall Street; chief-of-staff on Capitol Hill; state commissioner in New York; deputy mayor of New York City; public authority board member; professor at Yale University and The New School; and president of Blackburn College. He is the author of When Strangers Cooperate (1995), Organization Smarts (2002), and The Real Change-Makers (2012). He is the ongoing coeditor of the Higher Education Exchange, an annual publication of the Kettering Foundation. His primary research interest is the social dimensions of problem solving.

Part I: The Culture of Professionalism
Chapter 1 Knowledge as Property
Chapter 2 'Thriving on Ignorance'
Chapter 3 Self-Serving Professionals

Part II: Culture Change?
Chapter 4 Nobody's Property
Chapter 5 Everybody Counts
Chapter 6 Nurturing Others' Capacities


"A vigorous argument urging rethinking the relation of expertise or professionalism and democracy, including the human and political resources of local communities."-Thomas Bender, University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, New York University
"Many of us are training students for lives as professionals without much thought as to what that means for them or society. David Brown unpacks the history, cultural assumptions, and misplaced thinking that currently shapes the professions. In doing so, he develops a new way of preparing students as future professionals who might lead more meaningful lives in ways that contribute to the creation of healthy communities and broader societal goals."-Adam Weinberg, President, Dennison University
"David Brown understands that the professional power of academe is the result of commodifying knowledge so that it can become a scarce resource. This professional idea is a contradiction in a democratic society where the abundance of knowledge is necessary to inform citizen action. In this unusual book, Brown outlines practices that reconcile coded knowledge and community knowing. It is wonderful guide for academics who wish to explore their place in the terrain of democracy."-John McKnight, Professor (Emeritus), Communication Studies, Northwestern University
Add a review

Related titles