9Professional Agency

The ambivalent structure of social support – empathetic yet personally distant, related to yet extending across different aspects of everyday life – long gave social work the reputation of being a “semi-profession” which fell under the professionally nebulous category of reproduction. Modern professionality, by contrast, was said to rise above everyday activities through its link to rationality and scientifically based expertise, with claims to autonomy from the organizations the professionals work for. As these claims can never truly be achieved, typical conflicts can always occur between organizational and professional principles. The professions are characterized by signs of quality which can be identified at a general, ...

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