Guvernementalisering af velfærdsprofessionerne

  • Lars Thorup Larsen

Abstract

Traditionelt opfattes professioners autonomi som en direkte følge af den viden, de besidder, samt af de særlige opgaver denne viden tillader dem at løse, ikke mindst for staten. Denne autonomi er imidlertid sat under pres igennem talrige bølger af reformer i velfærdsstaten, hvad enten der er tale om reformer med henblik på bedre opgavevaretagelse eller om simple nedskæringer. Mens det er velbeskrevet i professionslitteraturen, hvorledes velfærdsreformer forsøger at regulere de professionelles økonomiske interesser, fx igennem New Public Management-inspirerede tiltag, søger denne artikel at vise en anden type udfordring af professionel autonomi. Påstanden er, at velfærdsprofessioner som fx lærere eller socialrådgivere er blevet gjort til agenter for politiske strategier på hvert sit policyområder og det på en mere direkte og systematisk måde end tidligere. Inspireret af Foucault karakteriseres denne udvikling i artiklen som en ”guvernementalisering” af velfærdsprofessionerne. Det betyder, at professionernes viden og identitet søges orienteret systematisk efter, hvorledes den professionelle bør lede borgerne i overensstemmelse med centrale politiske ambitioner på området. Frem for at være agent for professionens egne pædagogiske principper kan en pædagog ifølge denne logik i stedet blive agent i en integrationspolitisk dagsorden, mens skolelærerens professionelle praksis bliver systematisk orienteret efter centrale konkurrencepolitiske mål. Artiklen består af en indledende udvikling af begrebet om guvernementalisering efterfulgt af en tekstanalyse, der applicerer begrebet på centrale dokumenter omkring indholdet af fire velfærdsprofessioner i en dansk kontekst, nemlig skolelærere, pædagoger, socialrådgivere og sygeplejersker. ENGELSK ABSTRACT: Lars Thorup Larsen: The ”Governmentalization” of the Welfare Professions The autonomy of professions is traditionally based on the knowledge required for the profession and the specific work that this knowledge enables professionals to carry out, not least for the (welfare) state. Waves of welfare state reform have put this autonomy under pressure, however, whether the reforms are aimed at efficiency or are simply cutbacks. A growing amount of literature about these professions shows how political reforms try to regulate the economic incentives of professionals, for example through initiatives inspired by New Public Management. This paper aims to show a different type of challenge to professional autonomy. It argues that welfare professionals such as teachers or social workers have become agents of new political strategies in their respective policy areas, and in a more direct and systematic way than previously. With inspiration from Foucault, this can be characterized as a “governmentalization” of the welfare professions. It means that both professional knowledge and identity become systematically restructured according to how the state would like professionals to govern its citizens in accordance with policy goals in the field. For instance, rather than being an agent of the profession’s own educational principles, a preschool teacher may be required to act professionally out of consideration of the national policy for the integration of immigrants because cultural norms are often exchanged in daycare facilities. Similarly, the professional work of a schoolteacher may be systematically retooled in order to improve the nation’s performance in international rankings of education. This paper develops the notion of “governmentalization” with respect to professions, which is then exemplified in a comparative textual analysis of four welfare professions – teachers, nurses, social workers and preschool teachers – in Denmark. Key words: Professions, governmentality, welfare state, bureaucrats, textual analysis.
Published
2013-11-14