Policy Change and the Academic Profession

  • Roar Høstaker
Part of the Higher Education Dynamics book series (HEDY, volume 13)

We will in this chapter discuss the consequences of the policy changes for the academic profession in the three countries. An important starting point is to analyse the differences in its constitution in the three countries. We can also ask whether the notion of ‘academic profession’ is a viable one. Hence the weight is given to analyses of integrative and disintegrative forces of the profession in this chapter. The main focus is what sort of common markers and points of identification are constructed within the profession and what relations may weaken the strength of such common points of identification. The first part of the chapter sketches the historical constitution of the academic professions in each of the three countries leading to the eve of the reforms in the 1980s and 1990s. The second part of the chapter presents the main lines of reform policies with reference to the conditions of the academic profession in each country. A closer look at certain effects of the reform policies is taken in the third part of the chapter in which we discuss changes concerning hierarchisation within the profession, divides between disciplines and becoming an academic.In many ways the academic professions in England, Sweden and Norway may be said not to be fully professionalised. In the literature on professions it is usually emphasised that in order to be useful as a concept, there should be some characteristic that distinguishes a ‘profession’ as an occupational group from other closely related groups. There must be some sort of cohesion between the members of the group. Usually groups such the Anglo- American professions of doctors and lawyers serve as master templates for what to look for: common educational background, autonomy in professional questions, protection through certification, a strong professional association and a common occupational ethos (Abbot 1988; Erichsen 1997; Johnson 1982; Parsons 1939; Torgersen 1994; Wilensky 1964).


High Education Institution Academic Staff Graduate Education Undergraduate Education Academic Profession 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roar Høstaker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesLillehammer University CollegeNorway

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