Functionalist sociologists have described professionalization as a positive and progressive force that fosters social change in ways that minimize social conflict and disintegration. The basis of professional practice was considered to be technical knowledge and the ideal of service. Early studies assumed a clear divide between the professions and occupations. Lists of traits were developed to distinguish the ideal type of a profession. The functionalist and traits approaches were criticized for their essentialist position. Conducted on microlevel, interactionist works focus on professional socialization in workplaces, relationships in the everyday life of occupations, and their meanings in working routine and in wider contexts. In the neo‐Weberian approach professionalization is seen as the project whereby a distinct occupational group seeks to gain a monopoly control of competence and credibility with the public and, as a result, to secure an increase in income, power, and prestige.