Review Essay: The Profession of Architecture

Rainer Schützeichel


This paper deals with Oliver SCHMIDTKE's study of architecture as a professional practice. SCHMIDTKE undertakes to prove that architects form a profession and that architecture represents an activity in need of professionalization. His approach is based on Ulrich OEVERMANN's influential theory of professions, which states that occupational groups become professionalized if they deal, by proxy, with specific crises faced by individuals and communities. In this understanding, architects form a profession because they deal with the practical problem of marking internal and external borders in shared social space. SCHMIDTKE thus examines architectural works with regard to how such crises are aesthetically translated by architects and materialized in an appropriate design vocabulary. His study focuses on the need to professionalize architectural practice in the face of competition from other occupational groups but the analysis of such developments also makes clear the limitations of this theoretical approach to professionalization. Despite this, SCHMIDTKE's account of the professional activity of architects represents an important and highly recommended contribution to the sociology of professions as well as the sociology of architecture.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs090159


architecture; architects; sociology of architecture; profession; sociology of professions


Copyright (c) 2008 Rainer Schützeichel

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