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Subject: Accreditation


From: Sarah Lowengard <lowengard>
Date: Tuesday, May 11, 1999
Another historical aside to the...

As an historical aside to Erin Vigneau's aside, and also to  Simon
Green's  comments, both in DistList Instance 12:86:  It was and
perhaps is still possible by statute to become a lawyer as well as
an architect via an apprenticeship system, even if it is very
unusual these days.  A generation of women lawyers, now largely
retired but still alive, were trained this way. Harvard, after all,
only accepted the first women into the law school in 1950, but there
were women lawyers in the US decades before that.

It is wrong, however, to equate the AMA, the ABA, or the IEEE, or
the ALG for that matter, with earlier guilds.  The construct of
'professionalism' is in fact a 19th century one, and the
professional organisations--with their accompanying certification
routes--for lawyers, doctors, architects, veterinarians and
engineers are rarely more than 125 years old.  The formation of
these institutions was never without controversy, and there is
substantial literature about this subject in history and sociology
to which I would be happy to point anyone who emails me privately.

As I have remarked to a number of people, a problem with relying on
the examples of medicine and law in the development of a profession
of conservation is that the underlying purpose of the formation of
these institutions and accreditation systems was
exclusion--basically of anyone who was not white, male, and trained
by one of a handful of people (also white and male, and usually
affiliated with one of a handful of schools).  The form of
deliberate exclusion that the founding of the certification
programmes for these professions represents is not acceptable in the
late 20th century.  The apprenticeship alternative was originally a
means to accept others who were 'just like us' but perhaps without
the foresight at an early age to prepare for and attend the correct
school.  Acceptance by apprenticeship often demanded personal
assessments of character that would be untenable today (at least in
the US).  When we look to these professions as models we need to
understand something of the history of their formation, too.

Sarah Lowengard
Berlin, Germany

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:87
                  Distributed: Thursday, May 13, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-87-013
Received on Tuesday, 11 May, 1999

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