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Session Overview
RN19_07a_P: Subjectivity in Professional Work
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: ARIANNA RADIN, University of Turin
Location: PC.5.28
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 5.

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Between misrecognitions and satisfactions: health social workers’ professional identity

Florin Lazar1, Alexandra Maria Ciocanel1, Georgiana-Cristina Rentea1, Daniela Gaba1, Anca Mihai1, Shari Munch2

1University of Bucharest, Romania; 2School of Social Work, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

As biopsychosocial professionals, health social workers occupy a niche in a professional ecology in which the patient is located between medicine, psychotherapy and social work. Despite the aim of interprofessional communication and collaboration, tensions can arise between professionals based on professional status and differing perspectives of patients’ problems among disciplines. In this way, relationships with members of the interdisciplinary health care team and the patient-social worker relationship play a role in the construction of health social workers’ professional identity. Based on a thematic analysis of 18 semi-structured qualitative interviews with participants in a broader mixed-methods research project regarding the social work workforce in Romania, this paper explores the lived experience of being a health social worker in Romanian medical hospitals and NGO health settings. Four major themes were identified: (i) relationships with patients; (ii) relationships with medical personnel; (iii) relationships with public institutions; (iv) documentation work. These themes represent different dimensions of health social workers’ professional identities revealing the challenges and satisfactions that contribute to shaping their workplace subjectivities. Although collaborations between professionals can run smoothly, tensions arose when health social workers’ professional role is misrecognized by medical personnel and by beneficiaries (i.e., patients), or when organizational barriers set limits to fulfilling social workers’ goals. Consequently, the findings provide important insights into how health social workers in this study constructed their professional identities when working in collaboration with health care settings and public institutions not always supportive of their work.

Professionalism as a constraining or supporting aspect in amateur arts: the case of Song and Dance Celebration

Agnese Hermane, Agnese Treimane

Latvian Academy of Culture, Latvia

The Nationwide Song and Dance Celebration (NSDC) is the largest amateur-arts event in Latvia that takes place every five years since 1873 and focuses on choral and dance group performances. NSDC is included in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and also is protected by a specific Law, which states that this Celebration is aimed to be both with high participation and high artistic quality. The first depends very much on the leaders of the artistic groups, who can be defined as pro-ams (professional amateurs). The latter is provided by chief-leaders, who are high class professionals, and also authorities in Latvian music and culture. Both are paid by government for this job. But the majority of participants are amateurs.

The ability of different collectives and strategies of their leaders varies greatly. This minimizes the solidarity and causes tension – professionals wish to raise the artistic quality while most of the amateurs care more about such aspects as emotional fulfilment and social interaction. This causes a gap between amateurs and professionals. At the same time in many cases it is very hard to draw the line between both.

Thus the main focus of this study is professionalism in amateur-arts movement. The quantitative and qualitative data has been collected to analyse the opinions of chief-leaders and amateur art group leaders. The data presents result of several years’ work in the framework of the state research program “Sustainability of Latvian Cultural Traditions in an Innovative Environment (HABITUS)”.

Defining what a “good teacher” is: the teachers’ perspective

Matteo Moscatelli, Gianluca Argentin

Catholic University Milan, Italy

The present work explores the issue of teachers’ professional identity. More precisely, we focus on the essential qualities of a good teacher, adopting the point of view of about 2,300 Italian middle-school teachers. We interviewed the participants to an action-research, delivering a professional development focused on the topic of relational skills at school. During the pre-intervention interview (CATI), we asked teachers three open questions: respondents were called to define the three main characteristics identifying a “good teacher”. This methodological approach is unusual in the study of this topic, characterized by a dichotomy between data collected through in depth interviews or pre-defined items. The collected words were classified and inductively grouped together by type, adopting an holistic approach (Korthagen, 2004) and relying on a synthesis of different theoretical paradigms (Dilts, 1990; Tickle, 1999; Stoof et al, 2000; Bergner & Holmes, 2000; Polk, 2006; Bouton, 2016). The large amount of available data was analyzed both with qualitative and quantitative methodologies and software. “Empathic”, “Patient”, “Helpful”, alongside with “Competent” and “Trained” are the most quoted traits. Three key dimensions emerged from our textual analysis: relational skills, effective didactic skills, personality traits. The majority of interviewed teachers (around 50%) stressed the relevance of relational skills, but they frequently mix them with specific didactic skills. Teachers’ perspective about the definition of a “good teacher” is constant among teachers’ socio-demographics and individual characteristics and does not vary by taught subject. This result is quite surprising, considering respondents’ high heterogeneity in terms of previous pre-service training, career pathways and everyday working experience. The homogeneous answers suggest that relational skills are a widely agreed keystone in the definition of teachers’ professional identity.

Industrial relations at crossroads: The case of “briefcase professions” in Greece

Charalampos Arachovas1, Valia Aranitou2

1Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Greece; 2University of Crete

There is no doubt that the recent economic crisis has seriously affected the world economy and has changed western societies’ functions, outlook and expectations. Social welfare becomes less generous while notions like debt viability, austerity, leverage, competitiveness and productivity manage to attract again the interest of policy makers. Under these new circumstances many economists suggest that the fastest and safest way out of the crisis is through the deregulation of labour markets, especially for countries which are dealing with serious debt problems.

Greece is probably the most glaring example. The economic crisis has been proven to be much deeper, and the economy hasn’t recovered yet, despite the three Memorandums signed so far. Instead, Greek economy suffers from extremely high unemployment rates,huge private sector’s output shrinkage and a collapsing society, while the pressure on labour market is unprecedented.

This paper will attempt to shed some new light on the nature of informal employment, whether it has altered itself during the crisis and explore the reasons for which employees "choose" to engage themselves in informal economic activities.

More specifically, it will try to a) analyse the undeclared work challenge in Greek economy, b) clarify the real self-employed issue given the very high self-employment level in Greece, focusing on how informal small producers actual work for big enterprises especially in the tourism sector and c) analyze the so called «briefcase professions» and their inflows.

The latter reflect a new type of economic activity which becomes increasingly important in Greece and it is carried out by professionals who have close down their businesses but who are still active in the market in absolute informal forms, as a survival strategy.

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