The area of public policy to be considered here is the regulation of professional activity by the state. A conceptual framework is developed in Chapter Two and used throughout the study to integrate a broad range of theoretical perspectives on the state and the professions. Pluralist political science, classical and modern elite theory, and Marxist and neo-Marxist political economy have emerged as competing traditions within political analysis. These traditions have emphasised either the democratic, bureaucratic or capitalistic aspects of state and professional activity while ignoring or minimising the other two areas of state and professional action.
A central argument in the present account is that an analysis of professional regulation needs to incorporate the three traditions. This requires the replacement of the view of competing positions with one of different levels of explanation. From this perspective, regulatory policy is seen to have been shaped historically by individual action, elite organisation and class struggle. A satisfactory explanation of professionalism in modern capitalist society needs to recognise the interaction of the individual, organisational and societal levels of the state. This involves the study of interest group and government activity in a democratic political culture, bureaucratic modes of professional organisation and control, and the relationship of professional occupations to the wider class relations in society. ………….