The ‘civic-minded’ professional? An exploration through Hannah Arendt’s ‘vita activa’.

Carolin Kreber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent reform initiatives calling for ‘civic’ (‘public-good’ or ‘democratic’) professionalism can be seen as a response to the widely reported decline in public trust in the professions and an attempt to partially remedy this problem through a more publically engaged professionalism. Using the three modalities of the active life that Arendt discusses in The Human Condition (labour, work and action) as analytical tools, the author suggests that changing conditions in the public sector have led to professional life increasingly taking on the forms of labour and work, at the expense of action. The implications of these developments are highlighted before the author proceeds to show that a professional life oriented strongly towards action is consistent with ‘civic’ professionalism based on community engagement. Some of the main approaches traditionally taken to promote a civic orientation among university students are noted; the article concludes with a discussion of how the specific concepts underlying Arendtian action can be put to work in university pedagogies to intentionally promote the public ‘civic-minded professional’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-137
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number2
Early online date3 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • professions
  • Aredtian action
  • civic professionalism


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