ERG SES H 09, Professionalism and Education
In this paper, I will explore the Swedish state response to the current national teacher recruitment crisis and examine how education policy formulated in the context of neoliberal globalisation legitimates political, economic or organisational, rather than professional, interests. I will argue that, despite claims to the promotion of an alternative discourse of teacher professionalism, neoliberal ideologies continue to permeate the policy texts of the centre-left government. Finally, I will establish how Swedish policymakers attempt to gain the consent of teachers through appeals to occupational professionalism and highlight spaces where practitioners may reject these hegemonic discourses.
The symbiotic relationship between the state and professions is highlighted in much scholarly research. The state has played an important role in the legitimation of professions (Fourcade, 2013; Kuhlmann, 2013), and the earliest processes of professionalisation were said to parallel both the development of capitalist economies and the expansion of the welfare state (Brandsen and Honingh, 2013). Yet, the context of professional work has changed significantly in recent years. Supra-national organisations now contribute to the legitimation of professional power in individual nation-states and neoliberal policies of decentralisation, deregulation and privatisation have increased the role of organisations, both public and private sector, at sub-national level (Faulconbridge and Muzio, 2011). More and more, social service professionals are employed within profit-making companies operating according to capitalist principles (Derber, 1983). Despite the evident challenges of neoliberalism to the legitimacy of states and professions, the claim that 'there is no alternative' remains constant (Harvey, 2005). Yet, whilst there is considerable empirical research into the impact of organisations on professions' daily working practices, particularly in the fields of law and accountancy in Anglo-Saxon contexts, there is little known of their influence on discourses of teacher professionalism at policy level in Continental Europe.
Previous theoretical studies have made the distinction between an occupational professionalism based on normative values of altruism and dedicated service (Freidson, 2001; Parsons, 1939) and another characterised by ideological claims to monopoly knowledge and status (Larson, 1997). Lately, scholars have claimed that both forms have been reconstituted through the logic of the market to serve hegemonic interests and facilitate occupational change and control (Evetts, 2011; Fournier, 1999). Whilst these analyses are useful as a heuristic device for exploring developments of teacher professionalism, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the iterative processes whereby shifting discourses of teacher professionalism are reflected in policy in different contexts and, ultimately, whose interests these discourses serve. Thus, whilst adding to the limited empirical research in the field, this pilot project, conducted as part of a comparative study of teacher professionalism in Sweden and England, attempts to provide new insights into the discourses selected by a minority coalition government within a decentralised education system. Drawing on the theory of Antonio Gramsci (1971), this study will examine how policy discourses reproduce Swedish state hegemony through the promotion of 'common sense' ideologies and the consent of teachers to occupational change. It will address the following questions: What are the hegemonic discourses of teacher professionalism within Swedish education policy? To what extent do these discourses legitimate state or capital interests? How does the political elite attempt to gain the consent of teachers?
Brandsen T. and Honingh M. (2013) Professionals and Shifts in Governance in International Journal of Public Administration, 36:12, 876-883. DOI: 10.1080/01900692.2013.798809. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01900692.2013.78809. Derber C. (1983) Managing Professionals: Ideological Proletarianization and Post-Industrial Labour in Theory and Society, 12:3, 309-341. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/657441. Evetts J. (2011) A new professionalism? Challenges and opportunities in Current Sociology, 59:4, 406-422. DOI: 10.1177/0011392111402585. Available at: www.csi.sagepub.com. Fairclough N. (2010) Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language (Second Edition). Abingdon: Routledge. Faulconbridge J. and Muzio D. (2011) Professions in a globalizing world: Towards a transnational sociology of the professions in International Sociology, 27:1, 136-152. DOI: 10.117/0268580911423059. Fourcade M. (2006) The Construction of a Global Profession: The Transnationalization of Economics in American Journal of Sociology, 112:1, 145-194. Fournier V. (1999) The appeal to 'professionalism' as a disciplinary mechanism in The Sociological Review, 47:2, 280-307. DOI: 10.1111/1467-954X.00173. Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1467-954X.00173/pdf. Freidson E. (2001) Professionalism: The Third Logic. Oxford: Polity Press Gramsci A. (1971) Selections from the Prison Notebooks of Antonio Gramsci. London: SAGE. Halliday M.A.K. (2004) An Introduction to Functional Grammar: Third Edition. London: Hodder Arnold. Harvey D. (2005) A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kuhlmann E. (2013) Sociology of Professions: Towards International Context-Sensitive Approaches in South African Review of Sociology, 44:2, 7-17. DOI: 10.1080/21528586.2013.802534. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21528586.2013.802534. Larson M.S. (1977) The Rise of Professionalism: A Sociological Analysis. London: University of California Press Ltd. Muzio D. and Kirkpatrick I. (2011) Introduction: Professions and organizations - a conceptual framework in Current Sociology, 59:4, 389-405. DOI: 10.1177/0011392111402584. Parsons T. (1939) The Professions and Social Structure in Social Forces, 17:4, 457-467. Available at: www.jstor.org/stable/2570695. Rogers R., Malancharuvil-Berkes E., Mosley M., Hui D. and O'Garro Joseph G. (2005) Critical Discourse Analysis in Education: A Review of the Literature in Review of Educational Research, 75:3, 365-416. Available at: http://rer.aera.net. Van Dijk T.A. (1993) Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis in Discourse and Society, 4:2, 249-283. DOI: 10.1177/0957926593004002006. Available at: http://das.sagepub.com/content/4/2/249.full.pdf.html.
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.