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Fantasies of the New ClassIdeologies of Professionalism in Post-World War II American Fiction$
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Stephen Schryer

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231157575

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231157575.001.0001

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Fantasies of the New Class

Fantasies of the New Class

(p.1) Introduction Fantasies of the New Class
Fantasies of the New Class

Stephen Schryer

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter examines the idea that qualified professionals will tame free-market capitalism, forcing it to submit to expert guidance. Such an idea encapsulates the dominant ideology of professionals—“social trustee professionalism”—throughout the Progressive and New Deal eras. Social trustee professionalism technically promised competent performance of skilled work involving the application of broad and complex knowledge, the acquisition of which required formal academic study. Hence, this ideology emphasizes professionals' technical expertise and concern for public welfare, saying that professionals have moved beyond the purely pecuniary motives of the capital-owning bourgeoisie. Moreover, this ideology is at the center of postcapitalist vision—the idea that “the social salience of capitalist institutions was steadily declining, including the determining force of market processes, the authority or potency of business wealth, or even the efficacy of economics as the best way to understand, or act on, social affairs.”

Keywords:   free-market capitalism, social trustee professionalism, technical expertise, postcapitalist vision, public welfare, academic study

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