This paper examines the changing nature of professional practice in English further education. At a time when neo-liberal reform has significantly impacted on this under-researched and over-market-tested sector, little is known about who its practitioners are and how they construct meaning in their work. Sociological interest in the field has tended to focus on further education practitioners as either the subjects of market and managerial reform or as creative agents operating within the contradictions of audit and inspection cultures. In challenging such dualism, which is reflective of wider sociological thinking, the paper examines the ways in which agency and structure combine to produce a more transformative conception of the further education professional. The approach contrasts with a prevailing policy discourse that seeks to re-professionalise and modernise further education practice without interrogating either the terms of its professionalism or the neo-liberal practices in which it resides. \u
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