Feeling Bad and Being Elite: A Comparative Analysis of the Anxieties and Uncertainties of Aspiring Barristers

Comparative Sociology 13.1 (2014): 30-57

28 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2015

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

This paper examines the anxieties and uncertainties of aspiring barristers in order to understand the workings of elite professional status. The literature poses two diverging conceptions of negative feelings: as mechanisms for power and solidarity, concentrated at initiation, or else indicators of diminished control and breakdown. To allow for both potential meanings, this paper draws on an ethnographic study of two cohorts of trainee English barristers: one private, one public. The findings detail and compare the sources, nature, and consequences of bad feeling across the sectors. This innovative analysis detects the modes and blends of authority and cohesion, as well as differentiation, declining status, and even separation. This paper argues for intra-professional analyses as valuable groundwork for wider comparisons.

Keywords: professions, professional, anxiety, elites, barristers, legal profession

Suggested Citation

Rogers, Justine, Feeling Bad and Being Elite: A Comparative Analysis of the Anxieties and Uncertainties of Aspiring Barristers (2014). Comparative Sociology 13.1 (2014): 30-57, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2700069

Justine Rogers (Contact Author)

UNSW Law ( email )

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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