Professions and Professionalisation in Russia
Classic sociological approaches to the study of professions were conducted from a perspective typical for Anglo-American context while in Continental Europe and other contexts, occupational groups may not be the main actors in these processes. Professionalization here thus may be promoted ‘from above’ by the state, which plays the main role in the development of the professions (Siegrist 1990). But states also differ. As for socialist Russia, one must take into account the role of the ruling Communist Party. In fact, it was the single-party bureaucratic and at times autocratic state which provided the professions with additional ideological frames and functions. In order to study the professions in Russia, where the party-state had a much more central role in organization of social life than that of the government in capitalist or mixed economies (Jones 1991), one needs to consider the historical changes that occurred before, during and after the period of state socialism (Krause 1991: 5). This chapter will focus on the pre-socialist and state-socialist periods of the history of professions and professionalization in Russia. We begin with a short glance into the history of modernization reforms of 18th century to see the origins of the strong role of the state in the institutionalization of the professions. Then we consider the important changes occurred in the late nineteenth century, in the course of liberal reforms, which affected the transformation of social structure, opened the way for new occupations and expanded opportunities for professionalization. Then we describe the dynamic and complex re-mapping of professional structure within the society after the socialist revolution. We turn to a discussion on how the new understanding of profession was formed and revised throughout recent Soviet history. We conclude by outlining the main trends of professionalization processes in pre-socialist and socialist Russia as well as short brief of what changes has occurred in the post-Soviet state.