Democratic Professionalism

Citizen Participation and the Reconstruction of Professional Ethics, Identity, and Practice

By (author) Albert W. Dzur

Paperback - £24.95

Publication date:

15 May 2010

Length of book:

288 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271033334

Bringing expert knowledge to bear in an open and deliberative way to help solve pressing social problems is a major concern today, when technocratic and bureaucratic decision making often occurs with little or no input from the general public. Albert Dzur proposes an approach he calls “democratic professionalism” to build bridges between specialists in domains like law, medicine, and journalism and the lay public in such a way as to enable and enhance broader public engagement with and deliberation about major social issues. Sparking a critical and constructive dialogue among social theories of the professions, professional ethics, and political theories of deliberative democracy, Dzur reveals interests, motivations, strengths, and vulnerabilities in conventional professional roles that provide guideposts for this new approach. He then applies it in examining three practical arenas in which experiments in collaboration and power-sharing between professionals and citizens have been undertaken: public journalism, restorative justice, and the bioethics movement. Finally, he draws lessons from these cases to refine this innovative theory and identify the kinds of challenges practitioners face in being both democratic and professional.

“Albert Dzur has written an important defense of professionalism and its crucial relationship to democracy. This is an especially well-timed book, seeing as professional credibility has sunk to new lows in our contemporary political culture and has been under attack from both the left and right.”

—Kevin Mattson, Ohio University