Book News: August 22nd, 2006

Edited by John CraigThe essays in this collection draw on examples from across the public sector and beyond to explore the challenges professionals and citizens face and where their conversations might lead. They provide practical examples of how their encounters might help citizen autonomy and professional autonomy to grow together.

Professionals are at the heart of everyday lives. Professionals are given the licence to split up families and we send people to prison on their word. In the constitution of everyday life, the distinction between professionals and amateurs is more important than that between church and state.

However, there is a danger that professionalism is outgrowing its own legitimacy. What gives judges the right to interpret human rights? Government’s ability to help resolve this legitimacy problem is crippled by its own schizophrenic approach. It is torn between depending on professionals as selfless experts or attacking them as producer interests.

The essays explore this tension and look at ways of improving services through better conversation rather than greater confrontation.

Published by DEMOS and available at: