Resetting the Paradigm for Professions; Activists in the Lives’ of Citizens.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Phil HARINGTON, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Professions lost position in an age of managerialism and austerity. They were caught in narratives from above and below as self-interested, ineffective, elite, and slow to respond to increasing inequality. They were susceptible to attack for their privilege and capture, their inability to sustain or defend services in the face of a hollowing out of public provision, and they were noted as lethargic in responding to complaints, poor and flawed practice. More concerns arise when training and qualifications, research and innovation are confined to the academy and the distance from theory to practice protracted and peer leadership diffused. Ethics and data and analysis can be esoteric matters debated away from sunlight rather than energising the range of advocacy and claims for justice heard from the coal-face. Forms of employment and funding have reduced capacity for public engagement, networking and solidarity/mobilisation. This paper argues for a resetting of the professional paradigm by reasserting the notion of a vocation and the scope for ones work to make a difference. It highlights five elements about an occupational domain that might make professionalism more manifest and enduring; professions must reflect population diversity, should structure the inclusion of practice beyond an elite doyen, promote the scope for research and scholarship from all participants in the domain to inform the community, imagine new forms of employment and accessibility to their skills and services and heighten their voice in critical networks to ensure civic equity. It draws on experience in Aotearoa New Zealand to highlight scope for practitioners to become conversant with indigeneity, civic agency and a progressive agenda.