Europeanisation and the Emergence of ‘New’ Knowledge-Based Occupations

Friday, 20 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Teresa CARVALHO, University of Aveiro and CIPES, Portugal
Sara DIOGO, University of Aveiro and CIPES, Portugal
The so-called knowledge society and knowledge economy can be interpreted as a meta-narrative or as a governance tool to accomplish European integration. A chronological analysis of the emergence of knowledge society/economy as a governance tool takes us to the Lisbon Council (CEC, 2000) as the pivotal point, for the consolidation of the discourses that set the policy direction for the subsequent period based on the idea of knowledge society. The emergence of knowledge society notion as a meta-narrative for EU governance leads to a paradoxical position of the EU. While, along with European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund, EU has identified regulations of professions as one of the main causes of the economic crisis (European Commission 2014: 56), it simultaneously promotes the emergence of ‘new’ professional group associated with knowledge production.

The overall aim of this paper is to discuss the possibility of the emergence of researchers as a professional group in the framework of the knowledge society and the European Research Area (ERA). To be a researcher in Europe is something quite vague, hardly linked to the concept of a ‘profession’. To discuss this further we will approach the general concept of what can be defined as a ‘profession’, using the contributes of the sociology of professions (Freidson, 1986, Johnson, 1972; Larson, 1977) and assuming that professional groups are different from occupational groups. Using the Portuguese case as an example, based on content analysis of public policies and national statistical data, the paper sustains that competition is the main value underlying the creation of this profession and precariousness questions the idea that knowledge legitimates a differentiate statute and privileges of a professional group in society.