Browsing by Author "Haapakorpi, Arja"

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  • Haapakorpi, Arja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2009)
    Closure and negotiation constructing professional position in working life The aim of the thesis is to analyse how professional positions are constructed in working life. A professional position refers to a formal professional membership, but also to a position at a work site. Formal jurisdiction provides resources for supporting a position, but the relations, practices and processes at the work site strongly shape it as well. Professional membership includes two gates: obtaining a professional diploma and access to a professional post. The concept of a professional position is based on two sub-concepts: legitimation and authority. Legitimation is society-level jurisdiction over professioning. Legitimation can be claimed in legislation, in the public space and the media, and at the work site. Authority requires constructing professional work territories and practicing authority in work-related decision making processes. The thesis is based on five articles which deal with the following topics: gendered professional careers; organising professional work; the impact of the social and cultural backgrounds when striving for professional positions; and models of research work. The articles represent two types of sociological research: the structural approach with quantitative methodology and the approach of micro-social analysis with qualitative methodology. The first approach was suitable for analyzing professional career formation and its social and ethnic conditions. The second approach has been applied in the articles dealing with the organization of professional work and models of research work. I have combined and analysed the results of these studies under the theoretical frame of the professional position in working life. Legislation is the most powerful form of legitimation. Professional membership is strongly regulated in disciplines where a degree requirement is defined by law. In addition, closures related to social conditions still affect professional positions, but their character is loose and changing. The closures related to social conditions are based on many mutually overlapping principles: social, cultural and ethnic backgrounds and gender. Despite the closures, professional experts have to negotiate their positions, particularly when the situation in the work sites and society changes. Professional authority is reinforced at the organizational level by legislation; when the institutional status of a public sector professional organization is defined by law, it reinforces the professional position of the employees. In the business line of new media, the employees need to negotiate with the management, other professional groups and clients when striving for reinforce their professional position.