‘Becoming’ is used in this interdisciplinary work as an emergent, iterative concept of professional identity formation. The conceptual framework of ‘becoming’, as well as the arguments in the book are intended to encourage professionals—and those engaged in their education—to reflect on what it means to be a ‘professional’ in the twenty-first century, an era dominated by the discourses of globalisation, ‘new mangerialism’, multiculturalism and deprofessionalisation. We live in a world where not only scholars, but also a better educated client base informed by technological innovations, have issued unprecedented challenges to the traditional professional ideal. The once paradigmatic identity of the superiority of the Anglo-American professional, grounded in an exclusive knowledge-base and an altruistic ‘public-service’ principle, are no longer tenable.
The book will generate dialogue about the nature of professionalism through a multidisciplinary lens in chapters on medicine, nursing and teaching and in reference to social work, the clergy and engineering. Here, becoming a professional is a lifelong, extended process that constructs an individual’s professional identity through formal education, workplace interactions and popular culture. It advocates the ‘ongoing’ modality of developing a professional self throughout one’s professional life. What emerges from this work is a concept of becoming a professional that is quite different from the isolated, rugged, individualistic approach to traditional professional practice as represented in popular culture. It is a book for the reflective professional.