Professionens problematik. Lärarkårens kommunalisering och välfärdsstatens förvandling
Sammanfattning: On 8 December 1989, the Swedish Parliament resolved that the state regulation of teaching positions would be terminated beginning on 1 January 1991. The parliament’s decision came on after fierce debates that took place in both teacher staff rooms and in public in 1989. Almost 20 years later, the reform still gives rise to controversy, and current political debates also touch on the possibility of once again centralizing schools. Some view the reform as the beginning of the schools’ decline and the de-professionalization of the teaching profession, while others praise the skillful union work. The objective of this dissertation is to analyze the development of the welfare state, with a special focus on the educational area, and to examine how changes in the control system affected the teaching profession’s room for maneuver. The dissertation provides evidence of de-professionalization of those teacher groups that previously hewed closest to the classic ideals of the profession. Teachers also believed that the status of their profession had diminished with the elimination of the state regulation of teaching positions, and that they had become just another group of people employed by the municipality. In this instance, the sense of de-professionalization was linked to the fact that historically teachers were among the few individuals in society who had a formal education and thereby retained a certain social authority and acceptance. Another conclusion is that the municipalization of the teaching profession was not an impulsive decision but rather one of the Social Democrats’ long-term goals. During the post-war period, the welfare state had established a solid foothold in Sweden. Regardless of their political leanings, the Swedish people had supported the notion that the state would take care of education and health care, and a strong, centralized bureaucracy came into being. In the 1970s and 1980s the strong state was increasingly criticized by both the right and the left. Moreover, the thinking of the times, which focused on increased individualization and privatization, was fueled by management ideas that influenced the West. Instead of traditional regulation, goal- and result-oriented regulation started to control the public services. In the spirit and pace of the times a financial group within the Social Democratic party called into question the welfare expansion of previous generations. By advancing the idea that the municipalities’ financial situation was better than that of the state, both the decentralization enthusiasts outside of the party and those within the Social Democratic Party who considered the municipalities to be the foundation of the welfare state, went along with the decision to municipalize the teaching staff.
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