Professional Vision

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Professionals are socialized into particular and consequential ways of seeing—perspectives with which laypeople contend. What does it take to cultivate, authorize and institutionalize professional vision so that it gains and maintains public acceptance as valuable and legitimate knowledge? How do people learn to see like a professional, and how is professional vision scaled, directed, and focused? How do some forms of labor earn and keep the label “professional,” leaving other workers behind? To answer such questions, this course engages ethnographies of professions and professionals—from teachers, lawyers, and clinicians to social workers, scientists, and policy bureaucrats. Readings in American pragmatism, as well as works by Weber, Latour, Marx and Foucault will help us make sense of our ethnographic material, which forms the core of the course. In addition to its obvious relevance for students whose projects involve the study of professions and professionals, the course is designed for students interested in ethnography, as well as those studying knowledge production and expertise, authority and authorization, labor, and/or the anthropology of complex institutions. Ph.D. students only; others with permission of instructor.

Courses are subject to change at any time. Please check mySSA for the quarters, days, and times that courses will be held, as well as room numbers.