The Use of a Five-Actor Model Approach to the Study of Professions and Professionalization. Examples from a Comparative Study of the Fish Health Work Field in Norway and Scotland.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 17 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Wenche KJÆMPENES, UiT The Artic University of Tromso, Norway

  Professions in a modern society are closely interrelated with that society’s institutionalization processes (Halvorsen, 1994). I suggest, based on my comparative research work on professionalization and division work in the fish health field, that in order to understand the implication of institutional changes for professions one can use a five actor model including practicing professionals, other professions and/or knowledge-based groups, state, users and universities (Kjæmpenes, 2013).  This model is complex and based on, and follows closely, a four-actor model developed by Burrage, M, Jarausch, K. and Siegriest, H. (1990). The assumption is that actors in a work field (political field) involve at different times depending on their interests, resources and strategies. The interaction between the actors, as well as the national context and the dynamics surrounding the field influence the outcome of the interplay of the actors in a new work field. Whether the result of this interplay is a stronger profession, a new profession, or deprofessionalization is influenced by the national context and should be studied empirically and in a comparative perspective.

My empirical study showed that the effect of professionalization of the fish health field, related to the development of the fish farming industry in the 1980s, was crucial for the rapid development of the Norwegian and Scottish fish farming industry. The demand for knowledge-based advice in fish health had opened a new field of work.  The establishment of education and research institutions in both Norway and Scotland placed fish health as something different from only a marine science field or veterinary science field. 

By using the five-actor model as a framework the actors’ interest in professionalization processes revealed. Professionalization processes is about professions or knowledge-based groups that want to be part of a system of professions, but also about large institutional processes both national and international.