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Sociologists' TalesContemporary narratives on sociological thought and practice$
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Katherine Twamley, Mark Doidge, and Andrea Scott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781447318668

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447318668.001.0001

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Drift, opportunity and commitment

Drift, opportunity and commitment

the shaping of a professional career

(p.143) Seventeen Drift, opportunity and commitment
Sociologists' Tales

John Scott

Policy Press

This chapter shows that a work history is the result of a process of drift in which a person must take advantage of opportunities as they arise and so build a career that reflects the unintended consequences of those actions. The availability of suitable jobs depends on the prevailing economic conditions and the pattern of higher education policy and it is impossible to plan for openings in particular departments or places. Commitment to a career and an identity as a sociologist develops as a result of reflection on the choices made and their outcomes. The chapter traces the ways in which working in particular Departments shapes the developing identity of someone as a sociologist and helps to build a particular conception of the nature of sociology as a subject. This developing identity underpins the choices made about involvement in professional bodies such as the British Sociological Association and about participation in activities that shape the development of the discipline.

Keywords:   grammar school, university, structural functionalism, feminism, objectivity, social structure, economic sociology, stratification, BSA, drift

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