"Cracking the Council": Intraprofessional Change in the Sociology Teaching and Learning Movement
thesisposted on 01.08.2020, 00:00 authored by Rachel E Lovis
A historical imbalance in the prestige structure of the profession was identified by a small group of sociologists in the 1970s, who undertook efforts to improve the quality of instruction in the undergraduate classroom. Using a combination of qualitative methods including semi-structured interviews and archival documents, this dissertation documents the history of intraprofessional change efforts from 1972-2012. This case study contributes to research on intraprofessional change using the theoretical lens of field theory. Markers of institutionalization included the creation and dissemination of teacher training materials, the creation of a standardized set of curriculum guidelines, and myriad training conferences. However, the path of reinstitutionalization fell short of achieving the soft goal of professional identity change such that teaching is embraced as an equally valued professional task to that of research and scholarship. I demonstrate that this inability to diffuse the movement’s goal of transforming the professional identity of sociologists was due to the social positioning of change agents. Although movement leadership gained access to the council of the American Sociological Association, the lower prestige of skilled movement actors hindered their ability disseminate a new professional identity to incumbent sociologists.