Professional competence between neoliberal effectiveness and democracy building

    Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review


    Developments in modern welfare states over the past twenty years have generally involved an increased focus on resource optimization, liberalization policies and diverse steering mechanisms inspired by New Public Management. For “welfare professions” (especially the health, social and educational professions), this has meant that well-established professional identities have been challenged. The traditional key role of educating, treating and providing services for citizens has come under pressure because many professionals feel they have neither the time nor autonomy to fulfil the needs of the citizens. The professional ethos of securing societal coherence and equality is challenged, and in a broader perspective it can be discussed whether the potential role of professionals as “democracy builders” is undermined.

    The paper will explore the professional competence of social educators (preschool/ kindergarten teachers) in day care centres, drawing on empirical examples from a research project (Ahrenkiel et al. 2012b). It will be discussed how involving professionals in developing professional competence based on everyday work experiences might challenge both the “investment paradigm” and the new public steering mechanisms. It will be argued that the research project’s use of action research methods holds the potential of democracy building, at the workplace level, in expanding the view on professional competence, and, at the societal level, in developing alternative views on education and lifelong learning. The first part of the paper will present the political and institutional framing of these developments in the day care sector. After that, results from the research project are presented, leading to a discussion of the democratic potentials for professional competence.
    Publikationsdato1 dec. 2015
    Antal sider13
    StatusUdgivet - 1 dec. 2015
    Begivenhed9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning: Work and Learning in the Era of Globalisation: Challenges for the 21st Century - School of the Arts, Singapore, Singapore
    Varighed: 9 dec. 201511 dec. 2015


    Konference9th International Conference on Researching Work and Learning
    LokationSchool of the Arts

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