Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The education and socialisation of professionals: A study of British town planners in the 1980s

Lavery, K. G. (1987) The education and socialisation of professionals: A study of British town planners in the 1980s. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94475) (KAR id:94475)


The relative importance of recruitment, education and work in reproducing the ideologies of town planners was examined. One postgraduate and three undergraduate courses with different orientations and institutional settings were studied. The impact of external pressures on socialisation, notably the parent profession, was also examined. The main findings were: (i) Course content varied between schools because of staff differences but the undergraduate courses had a common form reflecting the influence of professionalism. (ii) Tensions between staff, reflecting conflicting views of planning and different disciplinary backgrounds, caused anxiety and confusion about the nature of planning among undergraduates. ( iii) Formal education was important for the socialisation of British undergraduates, as they adopted the view of planning held by the majority of their teachers. Anticipatory socialisation was more important for the socialisation of postgraduates and overseas undergraduates. Postgraduates entered their school already holding its 'radical' view which was reinforced there whereas the prior socialisation of overseas undergraduates in authoritarian cultures meant they adopted a 'conventionalist' view of planning, irrespective of which school they attended. Most students, however, entered planning school believing that planning education ought to be vocational. (iv) When starting work graduates experienced 'reality shock' with a number of consequences: they adopted a narrower conception of planning; they displayed a shift towards a 'radical' view of planning, including a keener appreciation of politics; and, they felt ill-prepared for the routine aspects of work, particularly development control. Many also became frustrated with planning. This was not due solely to 'reality shock' but also to poor career prospects and a hostile political climate towards planning.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pickvance, Chris
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94475
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: town planners, town planning
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 09:46 UTC
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 09:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.