Professional Amateurs

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= Professional amateurs (also Pro-Ams or ProAms) is a conceptual term to describe a blurring between the separate distinctions of professional and amateur within any endeavor or attainable skill that could be labeled professional


Definition

From the Wikipedia:

"Pro-Ams occur in populations that have more leisure time and live longer, allowing the pursuit of hobbies and interests at a professional level. For example, authors of encyclopedia articles have traditionally been paid professionals, but recently amateurs have entered the field, participating in projects such as Wikipedia. Other Pro-Am fields include astronomy, activism, surfing, software development, education, and music production and distribution. Open source/Free Software such as GNU/Linux was developed by paid professionals at companies such as Red Hat, HP and IBM together with Pro-Ams, and has become a major competitor to Microsoft." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_amateurs)


Description

"Recently, the term Pro-Am has been used as a descriptor for an emerging sociological and economic trend. This has been described by a UK think tank, Demos, in the book The Pro-Am Revolution: How enthusiasts are changing our economy and society (2004), by Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller.

“Pro-Ams - people pursuing amateur activities to professional standards - are an increasingly important part of our society and economy. For Pro-Ams, leisure is not passive consumerism but active and participatory, it involves the deployment of publicly accredited knowledge and skills, often built up over a long career, which has involved sacrifices and frustrations. The 20th century witnessed the rise of professionals in medicine, science, education, and politics. In one field after another, amateurs and their ramshackle organizations were driven out by people who knew what they were doing and had certificates to prove it. The Pro-Am Revolution argues this historic shift is reversing. We're witnessing the flowering of Pro-Am, bottom-up self-organisation and the crude, all or nothing, categories of professional or amateur will need to be rethought. Based on in-depth interviews with a diverse range of Pro-Ams and containing new data about the extent of Pro-Am activity in the UK, this report proposes new policies to support and encourage valuable Pro-Am activity.”

—excerpts, The Pro-Am Revolution (2004)