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Professional work in the Nordic welfare states

P35-PI251: Wednesday 13 June 15:00 – 17:00 AND Thursday 14 June 10:00 – 12.00.

Keywords: Professionalism, ethics, autonomy, insecurity

The public sector constitutes a large area of employment in the Nordic countries that is increasingly subjected to formal education and professionalization.  Work in this sector is dramatically changing.  While still influenced by ideas of New public management; evidence and quality and performance management challenge current professional values, and may as pointed out by Julia Evetts (2009) lead to a  form of ‘organizational professionalism’. Also current ideals of inter-professionalism as a means of managing complex and fragmented organizations imply transformation of paradigms of knowledge and professional ethics. Recently the new paradigm of user involvement is introduced as a means to reorganize work, tasks and organization in the public sector. New technologies – welfare technologies - play an important role in facilitating this development and may also imply introduction of new occupations, knowledge and ethics.    

This session aims at exploring how these new developments within the public sector is transforming conceptions of professionalism, and may introduce new conflicts, ambiguities and insecurities in professional work. We invite contributions that seek to develop the study of working life in welfare professions empirically as well as theoretically.

Contributions might focus on some of the following topics and questions:

  • How does the accountability culture that follows from quality and evidence-based professional practices influence professionals working life.
  • How does professionals enter in Inter-professional cooperation, and what implications does it have for meaning and identity of work?
  • What consequences does user-involvement have for the working lives of professionals and e.g. their role as experts?
  • How does new ways of using technology in delivering welfare services lead to redistribution of responsibilities, knowledge and authority, and alter cooperation and social relations?
  • How may new developments within the public sector represent new possibilities for improving working life?

Organizers: Annette Kamp, Ass. Professor, PhD. Department for People and Technology, Roskilde University, Sidsel Grosen, Ass. Professor, PhD. Department for People and Technology, Roskilde University, Betina Dybbroe, Professor MSO. Department for People and Technology, Roskilde University and Carola Aili, School as Contested Space, Department of Sociology, Lund University

Contact person:

Annette Kamp: