Professional Identification, Social Responsibility and Democracy

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:45
Oral Presentation
Henning SALLING OLESEN, Roskilde University, Denmark
The paper will consider the historical relevance of the notion of profession in a post industrial society and discuss a possible new constitution of professions, with a particular view to dynamic factors of new work domains (e.g. human services) and changes in the specific nature of work (technological shifts).

Taking for granted that the privileges and power of professionals based in closure and monopolized skills are being undermined the concordat with the rest of society will have to change if professionals should play a key role in future labor relations and knowledge based work. The vision of the paper is a new professionalism, in which the particular specialist knowledge and skills are executed on the basis of the professional identification and social responsibility, and in an interactive and more democratic relation with clients/users. The question raised is if and how professionals can identify with such a new professionalism and how they could reconfigure specialized knowledge and develop democratic (dialogic, social) competences to build such a new legitimacy of professionalism.

In order to illuminate this general question the paper will explore the subjective aspects of professional work and professional practice on microlevel: How is professionalism based in the identifications of individual professionals? How are the responsibilities of professions (re)negotiated in everyday life of professionals? How are enactments of responsibility embedded in everyday practice and intertwined with knowledge – the formal and political responsibilities of professionals with their specific knowledge?

The paper will draw on empirical research of learning and identity processes of individuals in several professions which are in a process of societal change (general medical practitioners, nurses, engineers, teachers, priests). Wherever possible it will draw attention to the importance of gender relations