The Chicago School of Sociology and the origins of career studies


  • Phil McCash Warwick University



Career studies, Career theory, Interactionism, Sociology, Transdiciplinarity


This article troubles the origin myth of career development centred on the vocational guidance movement. It draws attention to the early theorisation of career undertaken mainly, although not exclusively, within the pioneering Chicago School of Sociology in the early and middle part of the twentieth century. It is argued that this interactionist tradition within sociology gives the field of career development a coherence and integrity that might otherwise be missed. In addition, it is suggested that its underpinning philosophy is particularly suited to embracing theoretical innovation from other disciplines. The formal study of career starts in sociology, perhaps, but it continues to expand as a transdisciplinary field of enquiry. 


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