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Prison officers in wing-differentiated prisons: a development towards professionalism?
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Sovil)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5683-179X
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Within the Swedish prison officer work force, a growing internal division of labour into separate wings and tasks has been taking place in the last decade. This has contributed to a subcultural division between groups of officers. Specialization and division of labour in general are often signs of a development towards professionalism (Freidson, 2001). The traditional “ideal state” of such professionalism is when an occupation determines who is qualified to practise it, and controls the criteria of evaluation and knowledge (Freidson, 2001). There are ongoing processes within many occupations leading towards this ideal (Scott, 2008). In recent years, the impact of organizational modes of professionalism has been highlighted, and managerial strategies aiming to control occupations have received attention. This article aims to scrutinize signs of these processes within the prison officer occupation in Sweden. Data consists of interviews and field notes from five studied case-prisons and a nationwide survey among prison officers (n=806). The analysis shows that division of labour and specialization within prison officer work, with growing cultural and identity differences, is not a result of forces for professionalization within the occupation. The specialization is largely due to management-led top-down strategies to meet changing prison policy goals; also, standardization, e.g. by means of rules and regulations, is still crucial within the organization. Furthermore, occupational training and entry qualifications are strongly controlled by the prison bureaucracy. Finally, the view within the occupation and the unions on education, training, and occupational demands is not unified. The processes of occupational professionalization within the occupation seem to be weak and diverging, while the signs of a management-governed professionalism are numerous.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-38698OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-38698DiVA: diva2:764000
Conference
Scandinavian Studies of Confinement research network seminar, Växjö, Sweden, November 21-23, 2011
Available from: 2014-11-17 Created: 2014-11-17 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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