Calling, Profession and Work

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Book Chapter

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Theological and economic concepts structure how people make sense of and value work in promising and problematic ways. Economic theology highlights the intellectual kinship between calling and profession. Their shared theological and religious origins and shared goals help direct work, as people seek control and meaning in an uncertain world. The human potential movement of the 1960s and 1970s reinforced the individualized pursuit and value of calling by promising internal and external fulfilment. People became responsible for finding and fulfilling their unique vocation, rather than accepting their “station in life”. The human potential movement offered a conceptual foundation for social scientists interested in empirically understanding work’s meaningfulness. Calling continues to be appropriated unreflectively as an intuitive sense-making tool that offers order and grace to the “disorderly and often disgraceful reality of economic work”.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Calling, Profession and Work, in S. Schwarzkopf (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Economic Theology, Routledge, p. 185-194