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Professional ‘take-offs’ – The Case of Swedish Engineers
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Social Sciences.
2012 (English)In: NORPRO conference “Professioner – Gamle autoriteter og ny legitimitet” at VIA University College, Aarhus, 25-26 oktober 2012, 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Professions are considered to be important for a variety of functions and outcomes in the modern knowledge society. One of them is to contribute to the societal function of innovations and the growth of national and regional economies. In the field of technology the rise of engineers as a classic, established profession (civil engineers) and as semi- and pre-professions with new specialties of expertise are crucial for the fulfilment of the high expectations that the society has on these functions and outcomes. Despite their different levels as established professions, engineers in order to fulfil the expectations, has historically had to overcome some professional and organisational struggles that has continued to contemporary society.

In this paper the historical development of engineers in Sweden is the case of a professions’ quantitative and qualitative take-off. The paper focuses on engineers’ historical relationship to science and innovations, the expansion and scientific contents of lower and higher education in engineering, the struggle for power in interest groups and unions and finally engineers’ position in what seems to be the ever-increasing diversified labour markets. In the paper it is argued that the professional take-off of Swedish engineers is not one but two or maybe even three. Quantitatively there have been ups and downs in the number of active engineers during the period ca. 1890–2010. The sheer number of different specializations of engineering professions – that is their different functions and roles in the society – together with difficulties to organise in interest groups and unions has led to a rather scattered group of technological professionals. Tough engineers seem to have been able to actively develop and sometimes create new institutional arrangements that have affected the institutional logics to work for them as a central profession in society. Qualitatively or epistemologically the contents of the scientific knowledge, and ultimately the status of engineers as a profession, has seen dramatic changes through history and the State has played a significant role for these changes, both as a legitimising institution for the development of university education and as a provider of employment for engineers. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keywords [en]
Professions, Technology, Engineering
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-48431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-48431DiVA, id: diva2:883466
Conference
NORPRO conference “Professioner – Gamle autoriteter og ny legitimitet” at VIA University College, Aarhus, 25-26 oktober 2012
Projects
Carriers of the Knowledge Society
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2010–1457Available from: 2015-12-17 Created: 2015-12-17 Last updated: 2016-02-18Bibliographically approved

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Sjöstrand, Glenn

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
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  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
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More styles
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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