Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
We’re not like those crazy hippies: the emergence of an occupational group from a social movement
This paper analyzes the emergence of nascent occupational groups whose mandate is based on the demands of an anteceding social movement. While there is a wider interest in the professionalization of social movements and occupational emergence, we have paid less attention to how social movements undergird new professions or occupational groups. By utilizing a mixed method approach of interviews and archival methods, this paper investigates the processes of new occupational groups establishing their identity, meanings and practices vis-à-vis the anteceding social movement through the case of the founding of sustainability management in higher education. In particular, the findings show that individuals in the emerging occupational group employed two mechanisms – occupational identity partitioning and jurisdictional distancing to distinguish the occupational group from the anteceding movement. The paper then identifies and unpacks these two mechanisms and their underlying processes; additionally it explores the results of these processes, which shifted the identity and occupational jurisdiction for sustainability managers away from concerns of “social justice” and towards a more apolitical and professionalized sphere.
Grace Augustine is a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology, Management, and Organizations. Her work encompasses social movements, work and occupations, and field-level emergence and change. Grace’s dissertation looks at the emergence of the field of sustainability and the occupation of sustainability management, and she uses qualitative methods alongside quantitative computational text analysis to ask how disparate ideas regarding a nascent field’s principles, practices, and “rules of the game” are contested and potentially cohere over time. In addition to this work, Grace is also currently involved in projects on corporate personhood and examining projects that are proposing technological geo-engineering solutions for a sustainable future.