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Towards an uncertain politics of professionalism: teacher and nurse identities in flux

Stronach, Ian and Corbin, Brian and McNamara, Olwen and Stark, Sheila and Warne, Tony (2002) Towards an uncertain politics of professionalism: teacher and nurse identities in flux. Journal of education policy, 17 (1). 109-138.. ISSN 0268-0939

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Abstract

This paper is about the nature of contemporary professional identity. It looks at the ways in which 'discursive dynamics' come to re-write the professional teacher and nurse as split, plural and conflictual selves, as they seek to come to terms with a political impetus written through what the authors term an 'economy of performance' in uncertain conflict with various 'ecologies of practice'. The teacher and nurse are thus located in a complicated nexus between policy, ideology and practice. Epistemologically, the paper offers a deconstruction of professional identities, and criticizes the reductive typologies and characterizations of current professionalism. Politically, it reaches towards a more nuanced account of professional identities, stressing the local, situated and indeterminable nature of professional practice, and the inescapable dimensions of trust, diversity and creativity.

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