Professionals, policy arenas, and technological change
Paper presented at the ISA - RC52 Interim Conference: Professions, Bonds and Boundaries at the Università Cattolica del Sacre Cuore, Milan
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role played by professions and professionals in mediating the impact of technological change between the institutions of the state and market in both national and transnational domains. I challenge the idea of professions as a ‘third logic’ operating between states and markets by developing the concept of the policy arena – a site of professional interaction around the regulatory regimes that set the boundaries of states and markets. I draw on the concepts of institutional work, linked ecologies, and organizational fields to make the point. Following this, I consider how technological change, in the form of disruptive innovation, impacts the nature of professional interaction in policy arenas. I argue that technological change is an endogenous social process through which professionals challenge existing frames of issue areas and work tasks to their own advantage. This dynamic is important to understanding a number of regulatory puzzles, especially in the transnational domain. The investigation contributes to a closer union between international political economy and the sociology of professions.
This project receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant Agreement No 722826.