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Work identity and contradictory experiences of welfare workers in a life-history perspective

Arbeitsidentität und widersprüchliche Erfahrungen in der Lebensgeschichte von Sozialarbeiter/innen und Krankenschwestern
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Dybbroe, Betina

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Abstract "Transformation of the welfare sectors challenge professional identities of care and welfare workers in Scandinavia. At the same time welfare and care workers take part in these changes and are changed in the psycho-social setting of the workplace. This article presents research about care work in Denmark with a focus on subjective processing of work identity, applying a psycho-societal theoretical and methodical approach. A life historical and experiential understanding of Alfred Lorenzer's cultural theory is applied to understand societal transformations, here in the work place and of professionals in relation to their present scene of work and in relation to their life history. Two concepts are applied, interaction form and scenic understanding, because of their potentials for analyzing workers' experience. The analysis is based on a combined ethnographic and life historical investigation in nursing and involves a young nurse in scenes of the hospital, where gendered life history is re-enacted and present in a gendered work life with fragile possibilities of identification. Social dynamics interact with subjective dynamics in ways that illuminate not only habitual and creative orientations and practices of professionals in care, but also the contradictory transformations of the work, e.g. marketization and democratization in the work place." (author's abstract)
Keywords labor; experience; occupational integration; occupational socialization; socialization; condition of socialization; social work; social worker; nurse; identification; identity formation; gender-specific factors; occupational identification
Classification Occupational Research, Occupational Sociology; Sociology of Work, Industrial Sociology, Industrial Relations; Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender Studies
Method descriptive study; empirical; theory application
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
Page/Pages p. 107-123
Journal Historical Social Research, 38 (2013) 2
Issue topic Cultural analysis and in-depth hermeneutics
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works