TOWARDS PROFESSIONAL LEGITIMACY AND POWER: AN INQUIRY INTO THE STRUGGLE, ACHIEVEMENTS AND DILEMMAS OF THE ARCHITECTURAL PROFESSION THROUGH AN ANALYSIS OF CHICAGO 1871-1909
Inquiring at the cross section of sociology and architecture, this dissertation provides a critical assessment of the architectural profession with respect to the fundamental claims and ideals of the 'professional model'. Architectural profession in Chicago between 1871-1909 is analyzed as an illustrative case not only because its products constitute a prominent episode in architectural history hence rendering the underlying processes even more interesting, but also because the conditions for the legitimacy of professional expertise are more clearly manifest in a context of unprecedented urbanization and industrialization.
The professional model emerges in the second half of the 19th. century as an institutional form (i.e. associations, schools, license laws, code of ethics etc.) and subsequently becomes an ideology justifying and reproducing a particular form of status inequality in society. The main statement of the dissertation is that architects have also shared the professional aspirations and claims to privilege, power and authority; have followed the characteristic processes of professionalization; but have always confronted a set of 'inherent dilemmas' between the professional model and the specific nature of architecture which is doubly strained between 'art' and 'business'--both contradicting the professional model in different respects. Consequently, architecture has never fully attained the status of an ideal profession; it has always been only marginally indispensable with respect to the totality of the building activity; always difficult to teach, test and license; and also less credible in its claims to social relevance or detachment from business.
The professionalization of architecture in Chicago is presented in terms of three processes: the formation and legitimization of a professional market for architectural services; a process of exclusion and social closure directed at competing occupational groups, namely the builders; and the modernization and rationalization of architectural practice in response to new demands and technology.
It is revealed that the inherent dilemmas of architecture-as-profession, were contained in the Chicago case as well. Yet it is also revealed that Chicago architects, who were more 'entrepreneurs' than professionals, could not have conceived them 'as contradictions' since theirs was a different vision of professionalism shaped by their own practice, times and circumstances.