The substantive focus of this chapter is school teaching, speciﬁ cally in England, at a time when conceptions of profession, of teaching as a profession, and of the professional knowledge base of teachers continue to be contested. Teaching is sometimes deﬁ ned as a “state-mediated” profession (Johnson, 1972) in that teachers mediate the state’s educational goals in relation to a state-deﬁ ned clientele. This deﬁ nition highlights the bureaucratic and regulatory aspects of professional work such as school teaching. Nonetheless, teaching is a type of profession that in England, as in many parts of the world, has become vulnerable to neoliberalism’s push toward the marketization of public services managed through vertical hierarchies of control-in other words, New Public Management (McLaughlin, Osborne, & Ferlie, 2002). Markets and hierarchies are seen as challenges to the traditional notions of professions as autonomous communities. In this chapter, drawing on related theoretical resources derived from Marxian political economy-cultural-historical activity theory, the British tradition of cultural studies, and the critical sociology of professions-I argue that the diffi cult and contested concept of profession necessarily grows out of the processes of collective creativity and learning that are the focus of this book. Collective creativity is both a condition and deﬁ ning attribute of professional cultures that make the actions of individual professionals meaningful and societally signiﬁ cant. A profession in its historical sense is recognizable because of its developmental stance toward both its own knowledge base and its social relations. Collective creativity and learning are distinguishing features of professionals as occupational groups, even when they are of the state-mediated kind and even when their organizational autonomy is challenged by markets and hierarchies.
|Title of host publication||Learning and Collective Creativity|
|Subtitle of host publication||Activity-Theoretical and Sociocultural Studies|
|Editors||Annalisa Sannino, Viv Ellis|
|Place of Publication||New York NY USA|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2013|