→ Chapter 3: A Sign of the Times

Generation Constant Crisis
(not) Belonging to a Profession
Outside the Box

To deepen my understanding of how we create meaning and identity from practice, Chapter 3: A Sign of the Times, integrates social theory to ask how the current societal condition is changing the motivations and agendas of graduates. In the first part of Chapter 3, I look at social and cultural theory for a series on different perspectives on how we build self-identity in a society defined by “constant-crisis”. Considering Gidden’s concepts of self-narrative and life-politics, the second part looks in more detail at the meaning of work in contemporary society and the way that we develop professional identities that integrate our own agendas with those of a wider community. Finally, I look at two models for a more cooperative form of “professionality” in Gesa Ziemer’s complicity and Ettienne Wengers communities of practice. In the practice element, I use the ideas from Chapter 3 as a basis to qualitatively code a series of interviews with graduates and test the validity of my research objectives.

Reading List:

Beck, Ulrich . 2015. ‘Emancipatory Catastrophism: What Does It Mean to Climate Change and Risk Society?’ Current Sociology 63 (1): 75–88. 

Elliott, Anthony. 2020. ‘The Trajectories of Social and Cultural Theory’. In Routledge Handbook of Social and Cultural Theory, 2nd ed. Routledge.

Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Reprint. Cambridge: Polity Press.