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Professionals vs. Democracy: The Critique of Technocratic Expertise.

Dzur, Albert W
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) Prepared for presentation at the Midwestern Political Science Association annual meetings, Chicago, April 3-6. Downloaded 2 November 2005.

This paper is part of a research project on the political dimensions of professional practice. The grand argument of the project is that a number of professions have democratic responsibilities—to enable rather than disable citizen participation within their spheres of professional authority—that stem from specific effects of particular professional norms and practices. These democratic responsibilities, I argue, are realistic not moralistic expectations that strengthen the legitimacy of professional authority. Further, enabling citizen participation means enabling a certain kind of professionalism. This paper is a critique of both an apolitical view of professions’ social responsibility and a hyperpolitical view of professional expertise and authority. The purpose is to clear ground to get a better view of the democratic responsibilities of professions. Author’s abstract.


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