Developing Care Professionals: Possible Ramifications of the Professional Projects within Swedish Disability Care

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Distributed Paper
Richard JOHANSSON, Uppsala University, Sweden
Ulla HELLSTRĂ–M MUHLI, Uppsala University, Sweden
This conference proposal is concerned with possible ramifications of developing new professional projects within the field of disability care in Sweden. One of the most important resources in welfare society are the care professionals. Particularly, for the realization of the socio-political goals of a community of respect, participation and good living conditions, and of strengthening the citizenship of people with severe disabilities. Care professionals have been portrayed as the ultimate cutting edge of politics and described as the medium through which national, regional and organizational ideas and objectives are transformed into practical actions. Within Sweden, attempts are currently being made at differentiating and establishing a professional identity for workers providing direct care to people with severe disabilities.

In the study upon which this conference presentation elaborates, we were concerned with care professionals own perspective on meaning-making and understanding of their welfare work as carers of people with severe disabilities, living in short-term residential care home (RCH). More precisely, why these care professionals chose to work, and choose to continue working, in these kind of short-term RCHs. This implies a dynamic interpretation of working experiences as socially constructed on the one hand, and structures of meaning about care work and professionalization, on the other. In other words, we examined how individuals contribute to producing perceived social reality and knowledge.

Building on the findings of our study, this proposed conference presentation contributes to elucidate and problematize what is identified as an ongoing professionalization of certain welfare efforts and activities within Swedish disability care. This is done by illuminating possible discrepancies between the meanings proposed by public officials and other interested parties, and meanings constructed by the care professionals themselves in regard to their profession and professional identity. Furthermore, possible ramifications of these discrepencies are discussed in relation to the particular professional project.